Defining mission

October 16, 2014 at 5:29 am Leave a comment

I was asked to contribute what mission means to me for Mission Sunday. An edited version of the article below appeared in the Catholic News in its October 19 2014 issue. Besides sharing my original version here, I would like to add a couple more thoughts on mission which were not developed due to length constraints. I have added them (in italics) at the end of the article:

My spiritual director once shared with me a question he asked in morning prayer: “Lord, show me how to love.” This question is the starting point not only of my day upon waking, but of how I wish to lead my life. The things I want to accomplish on a day-to-day basis, and the dreams I desire to bring to fruition in the intermediate and distant future are all tied to this fundamental question that shapes and defines mission for me.

Mission means service. As a follower of Christ, it is to concretise the love of God in this world, sharing the joy of being a beloved child of God, and thus helping others make that same connection: to fall in love with Jesus and live in intimate and loving relationship with the Father.

More specifically it involves using my gifts and talents to touch lives, bringing light and happiness (or at least a smile) to whoever I meet and wherever I go. If I were to zoom in further, to share what is uniquely my mission, it translates into what I do for a living, I teach, and what I love to do and I am good at, I write.

As a single woman who cares for a healthy, independent parent, I have time to devote to weekly ministry meetings* that support women in their faith journeys. I am also active in my parish as a lector, and help out with the youth and faith formation ministries on an ad hoc basis (PIMBY** is my latest involvement). Previously I served two terms in the Parish Pastoral Council at Saint Teresa’s.

Apart from financially supporting ICPE Mission Philippines’s efforts as well as other worthy causes, I participate in reverse carolling, an annual outreach to bring the joy of Christ’s birth to families living in the Montalban dumpsite in the Philippines. The Church’s teaching of subsidiarity is important to me and I tithe a percentage of my earnings – give until it hurts is my rule of thumb.

I became a Companion of the ICPE Mission this year for I desired to live out the expression of my vocation, and my mission, more holistically and in a richer manner. ICPE’s spirituality of worship and evangelisation gives me that renewed focus and encouragement through faith formation and the sharing of lives as a community of like-minded individuals.

Drawing from the well of covenanted community, my baptismal covenant is made so much stronger and I am emboldened to go out and share the Good News outside the parameters of Church.

It is important to note that mission is not reserved to efforts merely within our immediate communities. It is so easy to remain stuck within the confines of home and country and not venture outside my familiar and known world. It is tempting to dismiss the cries of many in need, thousands of miles away, for events outside my environment do not directly impact my life.  

As I mature in my spiritual walk, I am challenged to go beyond what I know, to reach out to what Pope Francis calls the peripheries. Where should I go In order that I can go beyond my comfort zone? What should I do to reflect a more heartfelt response to God’s invitation to be an active participant in the wedding banquet as described in yesterday’s Gospel of Matthew 22:1-14? Who are the people I am called to love that challenge my complacency and my equilibrium?  I must not just go after the low hanging fruit, but strive to love, as Blessed Mother Teresa did:  …if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.

I will never be as magnanimous as Blessed Mother Teresa, but I can choose to love as she did, thereby allowing God to use me as He wills, and write the story of my life, my mission here on earth.  

* The Woman to Woman Ministry is an ICPE Mission ministry that draws women from all walks of life to come together and grow in their faith in a nurturing environment and thus to empower them to build a civilisation of love in their lives.

** PIMBY stands for Pilgrimage in my Backyard. I act as a tour guide to visitors, highlighting the history of the Church of Saint Teresa. We also pay a visit to the Carmelite monastery nearby. Saint Teresa’s is one of several churches in the Singapore Archdiocese to run PIMBY.

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