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I must begin with a confession! I am getting irritated when the principal celebrant of the Eucharist says at communion: “Happy are we who are called to the supper of the Lord.” Though I am not an editor, I prefer the word choice that the Church made: “Happy are those called to the supper of the Lord.” The Church has reason to say this. Certainly, we rejoice to receive the “bread of angels”, but can we be satisfied that so few of our contemporaries have responded to the invitation to come and join us for the meal? The systematic repetition of the altered expression causes us to forget the urgency of the mission. Our communities have to be missionaries to welcome those who have not yet connected with Christ. There is an urgency to renew our missionary engagement.
The month of October is consecrated in its totality to the universal mission of the Church. As such, the Holy Father decided to expand to one full month the traditional day of prayer for mission. The Assumption, in a way, began preparing last June by organizing a session on “revisiting the missionary experience.” This has confirmed our search for a new apostolic dynamism for all of the congregation. The apostolic exhortation, Evangelii gaudium, talks of the “missionary-disciple” to characterize the Christian who witnesses in the world his faith in the Risen Christ. I love this qualifier that allows us to better understand our role as evangelizers. We are, therefore, disciples, that is to say, men and women who have heard the call of Jesus to follow him. The gospel illustrates on many occasions that which characterizes a disciple. First and foremost is listening to the Word of God. It is the Word that makes the disciple---words of life that deeply transform one’s being; words that lead to conversion. This Word contemplated in silence resonates in our hearts. It also makes witnesses of each of us, people who reflect their hope in God. The witness exists only through testimony. The testimony is the announcing of the Kingdom of God that has already been manifested and which unfolds in the universe.
We are all missionaries through our Baptism. For us religious, it is necessary to center our lives on the Word of God. It is crucial that this Word becomes the source of life and renewal, and because of that, it is a priority to put into practice that which the Rule of Life demands: one half hour of daily prayer. Missing this practice leads to relativism and laxity. We will be subject to hear the reproach that God gave to his people through his prophet Jeremiah (2, 13): “(They) committed a double wrongdoing: they abandoned me, the source of living water, and they dug themselves cisterns, cracked cisterns that didn’t hold water!” If we do not return to the source of the living water, we are condemned to dryness, thirst and death. The Word of God is for us this source of life. We need not look elsewhere.
2019 marks the 175th anniversary of our foundation. We will be celebrating all that the Lord has done for the Assumption for all these years. Grace will rise from our hearts for our fidelity in God, for the love that surrounds us, and for the care that he brings still today to our little family. But, we will not be up to the task of this commemoration unless we strongly engage in an apostolic and missionary renewal. The Assumptionists are not museum keepers, charged with watching over precious souvenirs protected by glass cases or some walls. We are witnesses of the love of God for our world, and this calls for a firm engagement for creation. We are missionaries charged with telling our brothers and sisters in humanity that they are all invited to the table of the Lord. The mission is today.
The full text in the documents section