Continuing our series Sacraments and Social Mission: Living the Gospel, Being Disciples, Bro. Tony LoGalbo (OFM) reflects on Mission and Baptism in Franciscan Spirituality.
Baptism makes us members of one another by initiating us into the community of the people of God.
In this community we are united in Jesus Christ, as Paul says: “…neither Gentile, nor Jew, neither male nor female…etc.” In this community one is not separated by arbitrary geo-political boundaries, no visas, no passports; we are members of one country.
|Franciscan Tau Cross|
It is important to remember that “mission” comes from the Latin word for “being sent” or “to send”.
By Baptism we all have the “mission” of putting on the mind of Jesus Christ and bringing the Gospel message of Jesus to the world in which we participate by our actions and words.
Anyone who has tried to follow Gospel teachings and emulate Jesus Christ knows that this process is not a one-shot deal, but a life-long endeavor.
Hence, it is an ongoing conversion with failures and successes and offers a challenge to numerous opportunities to engage a person every day and an incentive to periodic evaluation.
Adult Christians can kindle their calling to mission by ongoing reading, study, and reflection on the New Testament, lives of the saints, subscribing to mission oriented journals, newsletters, supporting missionary sending societies, volunteering their time, talents to some service organization helping people on the margins of society.
When you look at what we know of Francis’ life, it took him a while to discern just what his mission was.
He took some false starts and some re-direction and help from others plus divine grace to actuate what eventually became his life’s mission. I think that he would say to pray to God for guidance, talk to someone you trust, do your homework with regard to searching out possibilities in tune with your gifts, talents and shortcomings, be open to learn and not have all the answers.
Don’t wait until you think you have all the qualifications necessary because a lot of vital and necessary work will never get done or will be delayed.
You will never have all the qualifications, so launch!
Br. Tony LoGalbo, OFM, is a Franciscan Friar living in Washington, D.C.