"The sacrifice is great for a heart which tenderly loves his parents, family, religious brothers, and the land where he was born. But the voice which invites us, which has called us to make the offering of everything we have, is the voice of God Himself. It is our Divine Savior who says to us as His first apostles: 'Go, teach all nations, instructing them to observe all my commandments...'" St. Damien of Molokai
Mission - proclaiming God's love for the world - is the heart of our faith. "It's not that God has a mission for his Church in the world," someone once said, "but that God has a Church for his mission in the world". Every baptized member of the Body of Christ is a missionary, expected to be witnesses of the love of God to family and friends; yet some experience a deeper call and leave family and friends behind to share Christ with the world. As St. Damien wrote, it is a great sacrifice - but none is more beautiful.
Missionaries today still risk their lives to minister to and live among the poor and marginalized. They leave the comfort of home to sweat in the tropical heat, work side-by-side with day laborers, preach in hostile environments, stand up for the victimized; and they often die for their efforts. Theirs is a deep commitment which mimics the life of Christ as He walked the earth with nowhere to lay His head and call home.
Mission, even right in our own backyard, means stepping out of our comfort zone and giving of ourselves for the sake of our Lord. It is sharing our stories with others, and listening to theirs in return. And while we may not all be able to go to foreign countries to preach the Gospel, we can support those who do with our prayers and our sacrifices. Let us ask St. Damien for the grace to answer the Voice which calls each of us to mission.
St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!