We are going through the process of the Ratio Missionis and the preparation for the XVII General Chapter. They both require from us a journey of conversion.
ICON: St. Paul
Guide: We are going through the process of the Ratio Missionis and the preparation for the XVII General Chapter. They both require from us a journey of conversion, of making an experience of God as the basis of our being and doing as missionaries.
In this process, Paul has a lot to teach us. His personal encounter with God on the way to Damascus and his letting being “taken” by Him changes him completely.
The fundamentalist and zealous observant of the law, the violent persecutor of the Church, is transformed into a missionary, into an apostle par excellence, into a witness of Christ who died and rose from the dead.
Let us listen to two of the texts of St. Paul. In the first he tells of his “conversion”, in the second he invites us to consecrate ourselves totally to God for a complete conversion.
Reader: “Though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I yet more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless.
However, what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Phil 3:4-9).
Reader: “Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom 12: 1-2).
Reader: The journey of the Ratio Missionis is in line with Paul’s experience. The three stages of this process (to see, to discern and to act) require a change of mentality, a quality leap, a giving meaning to our being and doing, “to walk in newness of life” (Rm 6:3-4), to take up the wisdom of the Cross in order to die and rise with Him. Also in this field Comboni has a lot to teach us.
Reader: “The Catholic, who is used to judging things in a supernatural light, looked upon Africa not through the pitiable lens of human interest, but in the pure light of faith; there he saw an infinite multitude of brothers who belonged to the same family as himself with one common Father in heaven. They were bent low and groaning beneath the yoke of Satan, and they were placed on the threshold of a most terrible precipice. Then he was carried away under the impetus of that love set alight by the divine flame on Calvary hill, when it came forth from the side of the Crucified One to embrace the whole human family; he felt his heart beat faster, and a divine power seemed to drive him towards those unknown lands. There he would enclose in his arms in an embrace of peace and of love those unfortunate brothers of his, upon whom it seemed that the fearful curse of Canaan still bore down” (Writing 2742).
Time to share in our reflection
Choose one of the following prayers:
Take, o Lord, and receive all my liberty,
My memory, my intelligence and my entire will,
All that I have and possess. You have given them to me,
To You, o Lord, I give them back.
All is yours: dispose of it at your will.
Give your love and your grace
and this will be enough for me.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favour on us in the Beloved” (Ep 1: 3-6).
Numbers of the final Text of the stage of discernment which may help us in our prayer: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 32, 40, 74, 75.
Questions for further reflection
What is the deep down motivation of my missionary doing: faith, power, image reputation, to do good…?
I take my service to be one of collaboration to the missio Dei or to be an affirmation of a missio mea?
What does it mean to announce Christ who died on the Cross to a world that looks for success and “excellence”?
What bearing have the process of the Ratio Missionis and the preparation for the General Chapter on my journey of conversion?