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Mission in the sense of ‘being sent’

29 de junho de 2023 Por jchevalier

Mission in the sense of ‘being sent’ is experienced or expressed in as many ways as there are missionaries. Hence what follows here is the way I have responded and am responding to my being called and “sent out” into the field where the harvest is already ripe. Currently my mission “field” is Mapuordit, Diocese of Rumbek, South Sudan.

I believe I function out of the deep lived reality of being one with Jesus, continuing with him, his mission in our parish. A sense of His presence with that of the Holy Women who accompanied Him lives within me.  It is the Gospel that compels one to move out and  reach out to whom so ever we encounter daily, be they teachers, students, patients, women, children, military, police; all have the right to experience gospel love, gospel respect and gospel attention.  It is the privilege of the missionary to attend to each one, at least to take time for the encounter. Often there in not a need for words; rather, the fact that one stops, greets, smiles and is compassionate already communicates the message of Jesus; the message; "You are loved and respected and you are important”. A recent experience highlighted this for me; I expressed regret that I was no longer as actively involved in the pastoral ministry as was the case in earlier times. The response from the military person I was chatting with, was, “Grand Mothers don’t have to work! It’s already enough for us to know they are there!” (Noting that I am now 82!!!!) Presence can be a strong witness!

My current ministries involve me in Education, especially Education Administration and pastorally I journey closely with the women of Mapuordit. While Catholicity is not the main religion in the parish,   tangible signs of the presence of the Kingdom can be encountered. Mothers  who remain faithful and loyal to family life despite the enormous challenges they face daily; together with their steadfast love for their children, speak clearly of a transcendent love possible only through a personal contact with a god whom they know to be higher than they and whom we know as Jesus. During trauma sessions or even in friendly non-formal gatherings where ladies feel secure to share their experiences, they respond with great joy when they realise there is only one true source of love and it is God’s love that we all share with one another and they with their families.

A source of great hope for me is the scripture text that says something like “A light will shine out of the darkness”. (Thus far Google hasn’t located the reference)!! The truth is, there is light in the darkness but the gospel must uncover it; though we experience only first generation Christians, LIGHT IS OBVIOUS but certainly needs ‘exploration’ and much prayer to discern  how to incorporate  it in culture and cultural practice.

The example of the life of Jesus where we encounter him in his moving simply through village after village, meeting people of all walks of life is truly inspirational. His having gone ahead of us has already sanctified all our similar actions of encounters; we walk in his footsteps.

Our challenge remains daily that we be truly and deeply women/ men/ people of the Gospel. There is no other way!

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be everywhere loved forever.

Sr Rita Grunke, fdnsc. Australian.

Sr Rita Grunke fdnsc Australian