Part 2 of a weekly series.
"Go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
A priest I knew once said that the greatest fear of modern times is that Jesus actually meant what he said. And right there in Matthew he gave us our marching orders.
Here’s the truth: at baptism you and I are given a mission.Ã¢ Â¯This is our baptismal call. We are all entrusted with a sacred purpose to do for others in Jesus’ name.
OurÃ¢ Â¯mission is to take the many gifts that God has entrusted to us and build his kingdom on earth. The primary gift we are given is the love of the Holy Spirit. That loveÃ¢ Â¯sanctifies us asÃ¢ Â¯we share it with others.Ã¢ Â¯
The word "mission" means "sent." To be on mission is to know that, with the love of the Holy Spirit in our hearts,Ã¢ Â¯weÃ¢ Â¯are to live each day as bearers of the Gospel. A mission is always a movement toward others and for others.Ã¢ Â¯
As announced by Bishop David Zubik, On Mission for The Church Alive! is a planning initiative designed to help us discover how best to be on missionÃ¢ Â¯in this present moment of the church.
At our baptism we received a number of powerful gifts from the Holy Spirit to equip us for this mission. The first of these are the virtues of faith, hope and charity, which unite us to God directly. These virtues enable us to makeÃ¢ Â¯a heroic difference as people of grace. We becomeÃ¢ Â¯a gift to others.
We are called to be an anointing upon the world. ThisÃ¢ Â¯is expressed by charity, theÃ¢ Â¯radicalÃ¢ Â¯gift of self.Ã¢ Â¯Ã¢ Â¯We can love in this way because we haveÃ¢ Â¯hope in the promises of God. AndÃ¢ Â¯we have hope because we haveÃ¢ Â¯faith in God’s mercy.
At ourÃ¢ Â¯baptism, we were also given the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, reverence, piety and courage. Each of these graces enables us to serve others in making God known. Pope Benedict once stated that our world has lost all sense of the sacred. The gifts of the Holy Spirit make us a means forÃ¢ Â¯people to encounter the sacred.
Each of us is also gifted with "charisms" designated for a specific purpose. The Holy Spirit empowers each of us to build up the body of Christ in some special manner. Some of these charisms are teaching, prophecy, healing, administration, leadership, mercy, pastoring or voluntary poverty.
What are your gifts and how might God be calling you to serve On Mission for The Church Alive? This is the question we are asking ourselves together — every member of this diocese during this year of prayer and study. What gifts has God given to you and I, and how can we use them to advance the mission of Jesus Christ?
Do you believe you have a mission from Jesus? Bishop Zubik wants you to believe this. He has expressed it as a mission to "learn Jesus, love Jesus and live Jesus." We are to live out our baptismal call of love in whatever ways the Holy Spirit leads us.
And that puts us on our "mission from God."
Therrien is diocesan secretary for evangelization and Catholic education.