Being a Catholic Missionary
“Missionaries pour themselves out for others, so they must keep returning to the spring of living water to renew their strength and sense of purpose.
Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Jesus went up to Heaven after he had been resurrected from the dead.
The gospel of Saint Matthew says: Jesus tells his apostles, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
This is the call made by Jesus not only to his apostles but to all of us, this is known as the Great Commission. We share in the mission of the Church today, which is to teach everyone the truths that Jesus taught us.
And today I would like to talk about being a Catholic missionary. If you think God is calling you to become a missionary, you can consider this calling and take steps to identify what type of mission work should fit in your own life. May I invite you to come and see the Secular Oblates of the Holy Family, a secular institute established by the Most Reverend Emmanuel Trance DD, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Catarman?
Missionaries serve the spiritual and material needs of people whose lives are often very different from their own. That is why missionaries sacrifice their own comfort to compassionately serve these people, near and far. Catholic missions differ, it depends on the person doing the mission, although all missionary work looks the same. For example, many missionaries answer the Psalmist’s appeal to “tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his marvelous deeds” by traveling, but not all missionaries travel far from home.
Missionaries do pray. Missionaries pour themselves out for others, so they must keep returning to the spring of living water to renew their strength and sense of purpose. One way they do this is through silence and prayer. Missionaries who have traveled far from home may especially feel the need to pray as a reminder that Christ is always with us, as he states in the Great Commission. Missionaries also pray for the people they’re serving and evangelizing.
Other missionaries are into Evangelization or preaching the Gospel. Preaching is central to the missionary’s mission. Saint Paul reminds us that a person must hear the message before they can believe, and they can only hear if someone preaches. Preaching doesn’t have to be speaking to a crowd, it can also be like sharing the Gospel one-on-one.
One of the hallmarks of a missionary’s life is sacrifice. Missionaries often live among the people they are ministering to, experiencing many of the same material struggles they do. Missionaries sacrifice their own comforts, and in some cases, their very lives, to answer God’s call.
Missionaries also serve people’s physical needs. Across the world, people experience a lack of access to essentials like food and water, a reliable source of income, education, shelter and infrastructure, and quality health care. Missionaries work to alleviate these struggles and demonstrate Christ’s love in a material way.
Christ himself modeled what it means to be a servant, “for the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
And missionaries should have a love for Mary: Catholic missionaries look to the example of the Virgin Mary who, when told she would miraculously conceive and birth the Son of God, said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
In addition to following Mary’s example of dedicated service to our Lord, Catholic missionaries have a love and devotion for Mary as a spiritual mother and ask her to intercede on their behalf to help them on their spiritual mission.
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