Embracing our Deeper Mission

Embracing our Deeper Mission

Dur­ing the last sev­er­al weeks, arti­cles have been appear­ing here in the One Voice about the upcom­ing Dioce­san Eucharis­tic Con­gress to be held at the Birm­ing­ham-Jef­fer­son Civic Cen­ter (BJCC) on June 28–29, 2019.

I am excit­ed about this upcom­ing event—particularly because it can serve as both a “wake-up call” as well as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for all in the Dio­cese of Birm­ing­ham. But why do we need a “wake up call”? Because the rou­tine of dai­ly life can become all-con­sum­ing, and even over­whelm­ing as we tend to our work and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ties. Because the 24/7 siren call of the world’s allurements—good and bad—are con­tin­u­ous dis­trac­tions to God’s ever-present invi­ta­tion to embrace our deep­er mission.

But what exact­ly is that “deep­er mis­sion”? It is that God is invit­ing every one of us—all of His beloved sons and daughters—to share in the abun­dance of His divine life by fol­low­ing Jesus in the way of holi­ness. Sim­ply, it is that God is invit­ing us to become saints–or in the words of Pope Fran­cis, to become “Mis­sion­ary Disciples”.

When I share this idea with peo­ple, many peo­ple respond that they aren’t good enough, or have what it takes to become a saint. That it’s not pos­si­ble for them. Since I tend to be a mis­chie­vous per­son, I often agree and say they are absolute­ly right. But then I add, “It isn’t pos­si­ble for US. It IS pos­si­ble for God.” Once we laugh a bit about not let­ting God be God, and that He tru­ly is call­ing us to holi­ness, oth­er ques­tions will then emerge, like “How do I go about dis­cov­er­ing my deep­er mis­sion?” or “How do I live out my mis­sion in my dai­ly life?

A The­ol­o­gy of the Head, Heart, Hands and Feet” is a phrase I came across many years ago dur­ing my the­ol­o­gy stud­ies. Over the years, I have tak­en the orig­i­nal intent (in which the author used it to describe the process of how peo­ple come to faith and belief) and mod­i­fied it to explain how our spir­i­tu­al life needs to encom­pass all of who we are—the head (our con­tin­u­al growth in knowl­edge of God and His Church), the heart (our life of prayer and med­i­ta­tion), the hands (our ser­vice of oth­ers through the works of mer­cy) and the feet (where we “go out into the desert” to spend time with God on retreat). Our spir­i­tu­al life should be atten­tive to ensur­ing that all of these aspects are present as we are liv­ing out our life of faith.

Once I share this idea, I then ask them to reflect upon which way (Head, Heart, Hands or Feet) that they have most eas­i­ly encoun­tered God in their life, and also where it has seemed eas­i­est to hear Him speak­ing. Once we iden­ti­fy this, we then have a foun­da­tion upon which to build into our life the oth­er prac­tices that are nec­es­sary for us to share in the divine life and fol­low Jesus on the path of holi­ness, and also the oppor­tu­ni­ty for us to find true hap­pi­ness by accept­ing God’s invi­ta­tion to embrace our deep­er mis­sion in life.

One arti­cle is not suf­fi­cient for lay­ing out how to embrace our deep­er mis­sion in life, so in the months ahead, you are going to see numer­ous arti­cles, videos, and oth­er resources shared here in the One Voice and also at www.BHMCatholic.com to help you with that endeav­or. The focus of all this will be on becom­ing “Mis­sion­ary Dis­ci­ples” and how to share in the abun­dance of the divine life, while dis­cussing the real­i­ty that it is “through the Eucharist” that this will all come togeth­er in our lives. I invite you to embark upon this jour­ney and the chal­lenge of prepar­ing for the Eucharis­tic Con­gress, because the more we pre­pare, the more we are able to receive the bless­ings and graces that God has in store for us.

In the Gospel of Matthew 25:1–13, Jesus tells the para­ble of the Wise and Fool­ish Vir­gins who are await­ing the arrival of the Bride­groom, and how the five vir­gins who are pre­pared for the bride­groom’s arrival are reward­ed, and how the five who failed to pre­pare well are dis­owned. Since we nev­er know when the Bride­groom will be arriv­ing, Jesus tells us we should fol­low the mod­el of the wise vir­gins and set aside “oil for our lamps.” Sim­i­lar­ly, I hope that by active­ly prepar­ing for the Eucharis­tic Con­gress, we may each dis­cov­er that we are not only ready to wel­come the Bride­groom when He comes, but that we also find that our lamps are burn­ing so bright­ly with God’s grace, that we are able to embody what St Cather­ine of Siena once said, “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.” I will be pray­ing that you decide to accept God’s invi­ta­tion to become whom He cre­at­ed you to be by embrac­ing your deep­er mis­sion, and prepar­ing to set the world on fire by becom­ing saints!


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