Prayers and Reflections

Spiritual Message - Mission – a fire that never goes out

It is said that Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, saw himself as the messenger of the gods. By his teaching and his witness, he would reignite the divine spark already present in others.

Jesus, too, describes himself as a messenger, the Father’s messenger sent to bring humanity abundant life through his word and his works.

To be on mission, to have a mission, is to be chosen and called by Someone greater than oneself, to be sent out for a specific task, to bring others a message.

"If the Father calls you to love as he loves you

in the fire of his Spirit, blessed are you! "[1]

 "It is I who have chosen you. . . ” (John 15: 16)

At one time or another, many people discover a passion for art, science, gardening, a specific sport, or even for human rights, education, justice. An inner fire gives them life, pushes them to talk about the happiness they find in their commitments. Their enthusiasm can often be contagious, leading others to imitate them. Even after retirement, their passion continues to move them.

Let us recall Moses at the burning bush; Isaiah purified by a burning firebrand; the disciples seized by the fire of the Spirit; Marie-Rose Durocher’s guiding Scripture: "I have come to cast fire." (Luke 12: 49)  A burning fire enabled each of them to answer: "Here I am, send me." (Isaiah 6: 8)

When Jesus tells us: "I have chosen you,” he too communicates to us a passion for the Kingdom, a devouring fire that consumes all of life.

We have been chosen and called, but what message are we to deliver? Following John the Baptist, who directed others to Jesus, we too are called to point out and reveal Jesus to others: "Behold the Father's messenger, the one who liberates and saves, the one who heals. This is he." We too have a unique mission.

When and how has each of us, in our personal history, been seized by this passion for the Kingdom, by this thirst to reveal Jesus? Is the flame still burning within us?

"If the world calls you to give it hope,

to offer it salvation, blessed are you! “1

"and appointed you to go. . . " (John 15: 16)

Jesus does not specify where, how and to whom we are to go. He leaves that up to us to discern. In order to bring hope to the world, Pope Francis invites us to return to being a Church on the move, on the periphery. But will it be necessary to cross the ocean? Or will we find the periphery nearby, perhaps even at home or in the people we encounter daily in our various family, intergenerational, cultural or spiritual settings?

To move beyond our self-centeredness; not to close ourselves off in our comfortable enclaves but to take care of those who are not from the sheepfold, those waiting for a sign of hope; to pray for these people; to be an open, welcoming community, accepting to be challenged and ready to engage in dialogue - these are responses to the invitation of Francis.

In 2019, what door must we open in order to communicate our compassion, our hope, and especially our joy to our continually searching and changing world?

To whom does God send us each morning and whom has God sent us today in order that we may be evangelized?

“If the Church calls you to toil for the Kingdom,

to work at the harvesting, blessed are you!”1

"and bear fruit, fruit that will last." (John 15: 16)

What fruit will our words and our attitudes have produced in others? Will we have made a difference wherever we have been? That is difficult to say; it is God’s secret. Perhaps the apparent failures have been more fruitful than the successes... Jesus knows something about that! As for us, because the mission in his Name will have pruned and molded us, it will have fashioned us into transformed people, humbler, more compassionate, freer, more loving. What beautiful fruits!

Indeed, we are like artists crafting a tapestry but seeing only the reverse side of the work of art, seeing only entangled threads. Yet, at the same time, unbeknownst to us, Jesus is working on the right side of the tapestry, accomplishing his mission in us. What a surprise when we will finally see our true face, a reflection of his light, a reflection of his love! What a sense of “mission accomplished” we will then experience!

A Prayer for Mission

Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher,

woman in the heart of fire,

come and reinvigorate the apostolic meaning of our lives.

By our attitudes, our words, and our actions,

may Jesus be loved and revealed

as Son and Savior in the Spirit. Amen.

Jocelyne Latreille, SNJM

in collaboration with the Provincial Leadership Team

[1] Si le Père vous appelle, T. : Didier Rimaud, Mus. : Jacques Berthier

 

 

PASCHAL MEDITATION

"Jesus does not resurrect for himself but for us. He wants to show us the way to resurrection," writes Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche.

Jesus dies because he loves. He loves his disciples but he also loves those who are killing him. Jesus is madly in love with all of humanity. He knows that by giving himself completely, he is offering life to others.

The death of Jesus is paradoxically fruitful. Jesus does not choose to die; rather, he chooses to love and it is this total, absolute, and gratuitous love that leads to his death.

I don’t think we can look at Good Friday without remembering Holy Thursday. On Thursday, at the Last Supper, Jesus takes bread and says, "Take this, all of you, and eat, for this is my body.” We recognize here Jesus’ desire to live within us, to be with us in our vulnerability. Then he kneels and washes the feet of his disciples. Only in the light of these two acts, these two gifts, can we understand Friday's death on the cross. The gift of love precedes Jesus’ death.

And finally, love is stronger than death. This is the mystery of Easter morning. Jesus does not resurrect for himself but for us. He wants to show us the way to resurrection - not only the resurrection of the body at the end of time, but also a progressive resurrection, like a slow and patient maturation in our daily life.

We need to recognize that Jesus invites us to be transformed men and women. We are called to let the seed of grace grow in us so that our ways of looking, our perceptions, our imaginations, our bodies, and our feelings are transformed. Little by little, we need to learn to look at others as God looks at them.

This is what faith is. Most of the time we look at others from our wounds, our fragilities, our fears. Our resurrection involves a very slow transformation in which the Holy Spirit gradually transforms our minds and our hearts so that we become genuine daughters and sons of God.

Jean Vanier

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