Mission Sunday October 2014
GO GLOBAL – SUMMONED FOR MISSION
“THE HARVEST IS RICH AND THE WORKERS ARE FEW”. (Luke 10:20)
When I was in Grade 11, two African sisters, Missionaries of Africa, gave a talk in my religious studies class. They literally faded in and out of my life never to be seen again, nameless, but their role was life changing for me. At that time I realized that women could be fruitful missionaries in their service of God all over the world and I wanted to be part of this mission. When I joined the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood some two years later, I learnt that Abbot Francis Pfanner, our Founder, had a truly global perspective for he said “our mission territory is the whole world.” To ‘go global’ depends therefore on one’s world view.
So I ask myself what is one’s world view? One’s view of life, worldview – one’s way of being and acting in the world, developed in family life and carried out in society, influences one’s perception, vision, goals, and values. Personal encounters through education, work, and socio-economic circumstances with the world and Church faith community define who one is. It affects human development and life choices. It can be static or dynamic and shape the way one engages in life.
Once I decided to ask various people how they view their life in the world. These are some of the answers I received…
Wonderful; fabulous; terrific; great life; an adventure; a blessing; an opportunity of grace…
Terrible; a disaster; filled with regrets; a suffering; a waste; wish I’d never been born…
Why is this question essential for the topic of discernment, a desire for commitment to God and God’s summoning power?
Clearly, reflecting on the events of God’s actions in one’s life and determining one’s personal vocation, a discerner looks at what form of service God is calling her /him to … single or lay state, married life or religious life. If the latter is the direction, the urgent desire, then in choosing a Congregation the person will try and gear his/her vocational spirituality to that of the community: diocesan, contemplative, or missionary.
If a person has a spirituality of place and a sense of responsibility to the town/ diocese/ country in which one was born or raised, the choice may be a diocesan or contemplative congregation.
However, if one has an appreciation for the universality of the Church, the person may feel called to a mission of evangelization in other parts of the world.
Personally, after over 40 years as a Missionary Sister of the Precious Blood, I can say that our Congregation’s spirituality and worldview reflected and continues to reflect mine. By trying to live out the Paschal Mystery and witness to the redeeming love of Christ in a wounded world remains, I believe, a relevant focus for today. “You are meant for the missions,” uttered by our Founder, means that evangelization among peoples who do not know or have neglected Christ and his Gospel is a powerful vision. The needs and concerns of the world and the universal Church reflect a pertinent mission mandate. I have had the privilege of working both in Canada and South Africa, with the poor, sick, and disabled and have seen the blossoming of the Gospel through the redemptive love of Christ within the mission communities in which we minister.
Anyone discerning a call to mission, lay or religious, should bring joy and a willingness to serve God’s people – even to the ends of the earth. Going global will become a mission summons in a rich harvest with too few labourers!
Sr. Gabriel Mary Riddle, CPS