Hopefully, over these last four weeks, you have been growing in your personal relationship with Christ, learning from the testimonies of missionary saints and witnesses to the faith and deepening your theology of mission. Now, we come to the last topic of this study: missionary charity. Missionary charity constitutes the tangible, concrete steps to how we live out our missionary call, loving our brothers and sisters around the world. So, what do we do with what we have learned? How do we support the missionary action of the Church, in particular the mission ad gentes (to the nations)?
The answer comes from Pope Pius XII “From the beginning holy Church by her very nature has been compelled to spread the Word of God everywhere, and in fulfilling this obligation to which she knows not how to be unfaithful she has never ceased to ask for a threefold assistance from her children: namely, prayers, material aid, and, in some cases, the gift of themselves” Fidei Donum (48)
Prayer is the most important action we can do to support the mission of the Church. Most likely, you recognize the importance of prayer but maybe still do not find this answer to be satisfying. You may be thinking, “But, I want to do something. What can I do?” I understand where this is coming from. My question to that is, “When did prayer no longer mean ‘doing’ something — or doing enough?” Being completely honest with yourself, how often do you think to intentionally pray for missionaries – those who are embracing a new people, way of life, culture, etc. – all to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ? Or how often do you pray for those who have never heard the name of Jesus or those who have heard the name of Jesus but still do not believe?
Material Support is essential if we are to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth. Let us not hesitate to talk about this. We cannot grow as Christian disciples and hide this part of our lives. Missionaries leave their home, family, and friends, often sacrificing their comforts to spread the Gospel. Missionaries are working in desperately poor places where the love of Christ is manifestly shown in love of neighbor. You too can join in the sacrifices of missionaries and offer them up for the salvation of souls. Today is World Mission Sunday – give extravagantly and do not count the cost!
Gift of Self In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (10:2). While most of us are called to support the Church through prayer and sacrifice, some are called to give their whole self through being a missionary. Perhaps it is too late for you, perhaps it is not. Family Mission Company provides a way for individuals or whole families to serve in the Missions. Could this be right for your family? If not, have you ever considered that your child or grandchild may be called to serve in the Missions? Allow this to be a possibility for that child’s life!
A special thank you to Vicki Compton for providing these reflections and for her encouragement to live out our call to discipleship through Catholic Missions! Thank you, Vicki!
Week Four Challenge
Be bold in your prayer – believe that prayer has real power! Every day this week, pray intentionally for missionaries and for your increased generosity in supporting them through your own financial gifts. Commit to making this prayer part of your daily routine.
Question to Ponder
Even if we are not called to go to another country, we are all called to be missionary disciples through our baptism How might you be a missionary disciple right here in Central Illinois?