It’s funny how God shows up sometimes. As a missionary, you come to expect God to show up in Mass, Holy Hour, or in community (seriously, who can’t see God working through No Shave November?). Better still for me are those moments where, in the midst of life you suddenly find yourself swept up into God’s presence, a presence you’ve always said is everywhere but don’t always remember. I had a moment like this Friday.
We had some free time Friday evening so I decided to call home and catch up with a teen, Natalie, from my youth group back home who had just had surgery on her ankle during the week.
One thing I love about calling to the teens back home is you never get just one. They’re inevitably hanging out with about 2342455 of the other teens from the youth group at any point in time.
I happened upon the group sitting down at a friend’s to watch a pirated copy (shame shame!!!) of Paranormal Activity.
Obviously because they realized the legalities (or lack thereof) in watching a pirated film and not at all because they were insanely frightened of the story playing out on the screen, Natalie and Nora, another teen decided to catch up with me on the phone instead.
We talked for awhile about pain killers, our inabilities to watch horror movies without friends mocking our fright, and the ways God’s working in our lives.
A little background on Nora: she is amazing. This is a girl I met about year and a half ago when she showed up at one of our Life Nights, a girl I have seen come to such a mature understanding of God’s love and call for her. This is a girl hungering for righteousness and the heart of God.
As Nora tells me the ways God is moving, I hear such a hurt in her voice as she shares the difficulties of her school life.
She goes to a Catholic School, but a school where she is persecuted for her faith. A school where she feels she must hide away, where she feels unable to share her true self, where she feels her faith is suffocating.
I feel for her. I know that suffocating feeling.
But we both know God is present there.
That God is calling her there.
That is mission.
That is her mission field.
We’re all missionaries. God is not just calling us into the depths of the African jungles or slums of Latin America. Yes, there is work to be done there. The healing of the broken hearted, the loving of those who know none, the preaching of the good news that God is here and God is Love.
Is this call limited to the third world slums or the soup kitchen downtown? Or is our God a God passionately in love with all of those we encounter in our days?
I’m slowly starting to realize the implications of the latter.
The call that means we have in each and every moment of our day to love radically, to live intentionally, to live as a missionary.
A missionary in a Catholic School whose students have turned from the open arms of their Father.
A missionary in an office that seems to be sucking the life out of you, robbing you of your joy.
A missionary in your family, where being truly present to and loving those people looks so much different than what you’re all used to.
A missionary in the pews on Sunday, surrounded by a community who doesn’t understand a God who loves personally, intimately.
A missionary always.
“I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission to the people. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”
-Pope John Paul II in Mission of the Redeemer
I won’t lie.
But take courage as we walk the journey together.
Don’t let this be a one-sided conversation. I’d love to hear your story too.
Shoot me an email at [email protected].
I’d love to hear how God is working in your life. How He is calling you.
To pray for you.
To journey with you.
Let me know your story, or simply how I can be praying for you.