FMC’s first annual Alumni Mission Trip to General Cepeda was a huge success! With almost 60 missionaries participating, God did wonderful things during our time there. FMC’s Intake class of 2012 was wrapping up three weeks at the mission house when the rest of the group – mostly FMC Alumni missionaries and their families – arrived to spend Thanksgiving week serving the people of Mexico. Thanks to the presence of Fr. John Carville, we were able to bring Mass to about a dozen ranchos throughout the week. We also put roofs on two homes and a rancho chapel, installed a floor, visited the homebound, and went out every afternoon to proclaim the Gospel to the farthest and least cared for ejidos.
It was a joyful experience to share the week of mission with so many current and former FMC missionaries. Mornings of Praise and Worship allowed us to start every day in God’s presence. Everyone gave 110 percent, and God blessed us with beautiful weather and a truly peaceful time of service.
We had a record breaking Thanksgiving dinner at the mission house, where we were able to share a delicious dinner prepared by our missionaries and staff with over 130 people. God multiplied the food for sure, because we were planning for less than 100! Everyone agreed that this Alumni trip should be a Thanksgiving tradition for FMC – it truly felt like a family reunion!
Do you feel called to go on a mission trip this year? For information about any of our upcoming short-term mission trips make sure to consult the Pick a Trip page (http://www.familymissionscompany.com/familymc/pick-a-trip/) and click the individual trips to see the dates for 2012.
By Erika Olson
“We don’t have any water. The well broke and now we don’t even have any water to drink.” I stood in the chapel at Luz y Colón, a small desert community in the municipality of General Cepeda, Coahuila, Mexico. We were on a three-week mission with our missionaries in Intake (formation period). It was so good to be back in mission! Especially to be in the place where I served for nearly 2 years, where I first fell in love with missions. The ladies who arrived for our prayer meeting were telling me that their well broke and they had no water.
This was the first of three visits we made to this community. Each night, we sang praise, gave a teaching and shared testimonies. The second night, we prayed over them and with them for their needs and the last night we shared a meal with them. I wished so much to fix their problem, to find enough money to fix their well and fill it with water for them to drink, bathe and cook.
[pullquote1 align=”right” variation=”blue”]“We don’t have any water. The well broke and now we don’t even have any water to drink.”[/pullquote1]One of our Intake missionaries, upon hearing that they had no water, felt inspired to share with them Jesus’ Encounter with the Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4:1-30). Jesus is wearied from His journey and stops at the well at Noon, the hottest point of the day. The woman is there at this time, which means she is alone. No one else goes to draw water when it’s that hot out, for the trip to the well and the laborious task of lugging the water jars home was far too exhausting. When people did go in the early mornings or evenings, it was a social gathering place. For this Samaritan woman, she was seeking to be alone, to escape the usual crowd. Yet Jesus is there to meet her, to surprise her, to give her the desires of her heart. He asks her for a drink, which not only shocks her, but also opens her to a dialogue with him. He tells her, “‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (v. 10). She is intrigued by this living water, so she inquires:
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water” (vv. 11-15).
This is a turning point, now she wants what Jesus has to offer her, recognizing that this could be different from all the other things she has looked for to quench her thirst. Jesus even mentions this to her when he prophesies to her about her many husbands and her current relationship. She then admits that maybe, just maybe, Jesus could be this so-called Messiah that is coming to save His people:
The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,but still no one said, “What are you looking for?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?”
“They went out of the town and came to him.” (vv. 25-30).
[pullquote1 align=”center” variation=”blue”]Jesus reveals Himself as the Christ, the Savior, the One Who satisfies our souls![/pullquote1]
I love her reaction! The woman who was there to avoid the crowd, rushes into town to tell everyone about Jesus, leaving her jar behind because JESUS has filled her to overflowing! This was the first of three visits we made to this community. Each night we gave a teaching and shared testimonies. The second night, we prayed over them and with them for their needs, and the last night we shared a meal with them.
After we prayed with them the second night, one of the elderly ladies walked up to me and began to share with me: “I had such a beautiful experience tonight. When you were praying over me, I knew that God was with me. I have only felt this once before in my life. When I was sick in the hospital, I prayed and I felt the Lord healing me. I had that same feeling come over me tonight.”
“Praise God! Thank you for sharing that,” I responded.
Along with my fellow Mexican sisters who came to our prayer meeting, Jesus asked me to meet Him at the well. He is still waiting for us to come to Him, in whatever state we find ourselves: tired, thirsty, weary, broken, rejoicing, worried because He wants to fill us to overflowing! It doesn’t mean that I can’t help them to buy more water, or to pay to have their well fixed, “but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
By Erika Olson
By Kristen Leigha Weiss
It’s amazing how becoming a mother changes the way I perceive the world. Maybe it’s the way I grew up, but I feel as if I have truly turned into my mother, and I now see everything as being full of GERMS! I have been a missionary since 2006 and never really put much thought into getting sick while on missions, mainly because I was willing and prepared to suffer for the Gospel and sickness seemed like a small sacrifice in order to share the Good News of the Gospel on the mission field. I have been in missions in Mexico, Spain, and India, and I suffered sickness in each of these missions.
When we were leaving for Mexico 3 weeks ago, I was thrilled and excited to return to my first mission base, the place I met my husband, and where the Lord first captured my heart for missions. I was so excited for Edmond to fall in love with General Cepeda as both Jonathan and I had and for everyone here to fall in love with him. Although we have not been on missions in over two years I didn’t think twice about coming or about not being prepared; after all I had lived here for a year and knew everything there was to know about the mission here. Boy was I unprepared for the lessons the Lord has in store for me. [pullquote1 align=”left” variation=”blue”]Boy was I unprepared for the lessons the Lord had in store for me.[/pullquote1]
We have been living in community since Edmond was 5 months old, so I am used to people wanting to hold him and play with him, and I was pretty much prepared for that to be the case in General Cepeda as well; but when it came time to share him, I didn’t want to, for fear of him getting sick or hurt.
Our first day here some of the people in our group were sick with a virus, and we were told that there was also one going around town, and I didn’t want Edmond to catch it. Almost immediately upon our arrival, my mind was full of fears and worries about Edmond’s health and wellbeing. I was completely ready to suffer with sickness, but I wasn’t ready to submit my son to it. Edmond is an extremely active 8-month old. He loves to crawl on the floor and put everything that he finds in his mouth. For those of you who don’t know, the Casa de Misiones (the mission house) in General is basically open to all the elements, the floors are always dirty and dusty, mainly because we live in the desert. We have birds living in the ceilings of the courtyard, where we spend a lot of time, not to mention all the random people always coming in and out of the house, which is already overflowing with over 50 people. Needless to say GERMS are everywhere!
Edmond sticks out quiet a bit here in Mexico, and everyone wants to touch his fair skin and pat his blond hair as they grab his face and comment on how strikingly beautiful his bright blue eyes are. It was really hard to let everyone touch him and hold him.
At one point during our first day here there were some kids playing in the patio, some I knew and some I didn’t. A young girl about 13 or 14 years old just walked straight up to me and without asking she took Edmond out of my arms, while I was talking with Jonathan. At first I was really bothered but as I watched her with him I knew he was in good hands and I realized how silly my reaction was. Edmond didn’t seem the least bit bothered as she sat there holding and playing with him. I could see just how much joy it brought her to be able to hold him and make him laugh. I gently told her not to let him put his hands in her mouth and not to put hers in his, to which she nodded yes with a smile that almost said “duh”.
And then in the ranchos the little old ladies all wanted to hold him and a few would just take him without asking, or if they did ask they would not really wait for a response. This was very hard for me and I realized this was just their culture.
After this experience I was taking a walk with one of my mission sisters, who is also a mom. I shared with her the fears I was having and all the things that were occupying my mind. She said something that really helps is to ask herself, “What’s the greater good? Is the greater good having your way, and being fearful, or to bless those around you?” As I began praying about this I realized I had taken back all the control I had given God, and He was no longer in charge, I was. If God was calling Jonathan and I into missions then He was calling Edmond into missions as well. We are a family in missions and that means that Edmond is just as much a missionary as we are, and that when I let my fears keep him from proclaiming the Gospel with his smiles, coos and laughter, I am robbing the people of General Cepeda and the outlying ranchos we visit from the joy and happiness Edmond brings as a little missionary.
I felt as if God was asking me, “Who do you put first? Me or your family? Do you not trust Me to take care of Edmond as I took care of you in missions? Is he not my son first? Do I not have his best interests in mind?” I had to come to terms with the fact that I can only protect Edmond or any future children that the Lord chooses to give us to a certain extent, and if I was willing to suffer for the Gospel then I had to be prepared to allow my children this gift and sacrifice as well.
I felt like God was asking me to open my eyes to the beauty that was around me, to stop seeing everything as germs and sickness, especially the people, but as hearts and souls that He was asking us to love and care for. I had to learn to let go and give back to God what is rightfully His and to live into the freedom that is a life lived totally surrendered to His good will!
Read More of the Weiss Family’s Blog
By Joseph Summers
I want to die pointing. I had this basic realization the other day: when death finds me, I want it to find me pointing to JESUS! There are so many distractions in our lives, and I am not just talking about sinful, evil things; I am talking about all the things we busy ourselves with, and make priorities, that are NOT God’s priorities for us. I often am reminded of Jesus’ parable of the Pearl of Great Price in Matthew 13:46. The Master shares with us that the Kingdom of Heaven is not only about rooting out sin in our life (and yes we should be mad about eradicating every sin in our lives!), but it is also about giving up GOOD THINGS for something FAR BETTER! I think this is lost in modern Christianity. We are too often simply content that we are “not like that sinner in the back of the temple.” We think that as long as we are not getting drunk, committing adultery, and killing people, then we are somehow living out our Christian duty. WRONG. [pullquote1 align=”right” variation=”slategrey”]”Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”[/pullquote1]
Our lives are supposed to be pointing to heaven! If my central focus is on getting a good education, finding a great job, and providing for my family (all admittedly GOOD THINGS), then the LORD and His plan for my life ARE NOT my main focus. My life isn’t pointing to heaven, it’s pointing to the good things of this earth, just like any other responsible person without Christ in their lives. Jesus says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33). “First” means FIRST, as in before other things, as in before ALL other things, even GOOD THINGS like my job, my family, my education, my family vacation, my fill-in-the-blank! Jesus and the Gospel are not a good thing among other good things, JESUS is THE GOOD THING, He is THE GOOD NEWS.
Jesus makes some pretty bold demands on our lives. Take for example, oh I don’t know, the four Gospels! Jesus is constantly challenging his followers with awesome and foundational truths. That is after all His right, if in fact He is our LORD and Savior. If I claim that my life was ransomed, and purchased at so great a Price, then I cannot continue to live as if I own my life. I belong to Him! Before I can take that job, or pursue that degree, or buy that car, I have to ask the LORD if this is what He desires for me and my life! Is this really what the LORD wants for me, is this really what my life is to be about, or does He have something better.
[pullquote1 align=”left” variation=”slategrey”] “… so that world might know the LOVE of a Father who sent HIS ONLY SON to DIE so that we might have LIFE…” [/pullquote1] As a missionary, a son of missionaries, and a member of a missionary community, I have been blessed to witness time and again the joy that comes from laying down the good things we had planned for our lives, to embrace the SOMETHING BETTER. Embracing a life of sacrifice, humility, prayer, joy, renunciation, selflessness, Gospel poverty, and a head-over-heels love for God, points! And I for one want to point. Taking the Gospel seriously MEANS running, full-force in the opposite direction of well grounded, sensible people who are doing all the “right” things. Not until we, as a people of God, lay down our lives, good things and all, so that world might know the LOVE of a Father who sent HIS ONLY SON to DIE so that we might have LIFE, will the saving truth of the Gospel reach a world running toward perdition! If we do not respond, the world is lost, and our own salvation jeopardized. When I die, I want strangers, friends, family, and especially my now 19 month old son and baby on the way, to see their friend and Daddy pointing to a LIFE that is MORE!
FMC’s Blog as really been gaining momentum. Joseph Summer’s blog on God is Calling Families into Missions was featured as one of Tito Edwards “the Best in Catholic Blogging” on the National Catholic Register’s Website this past weekend. We are so honored to have been featured by the NCR and blessed that many Catholics are beginning to take seriously the call on all the baptized to be spreading the Gospel.
In other FMC blog news, Banished to the Cry Room, has gone viral and has reached over 1,400 unique views! We are so ecstatic that the reflections FMC missionaries are sharing are so applicable to the Catholic online community!
God is stretching and growing FMC in new and varied ways!
Texas A&M Campus Visit
Missionaries spoke to hundreds of students after 5 different Masses, and made a missions presentation at St. Mary’s Catholic Student center to many students about the joy of serving the Lord in missions. Please pray that many students would respond generously to the call of Christ to bring His love to the ends of the earth.
Joseph and Brooke Summers spoke to a group of UL students attempting to awaken the missionary zeal among them. Many approached them afterwards with questions about missionary life and with interest in the possiblity of serving the Lord as full time missionaries in the future.
- Intake 2012 Travels to Mexico: The Intake missionaries and many of our FMC staff are currently serving the Lord in General Cepeda, Mexico. Please keep their ministry and evangelization in the ranchos in your prayers.
- 26 FMC Missionaries currently serving the Lord in Malaybalay: With the arrival of the Alvarez and Eckstine families to the Philippines, their are 26 joyful, generous, and zealous missionaries spreading the Gospel among the poor and cast down in Malaybalay. Please keep Stacie Alvarez in your prayers as she approaches her due date for number 7!
We’ve been teaching our students about the Sacraments—“visible signs of invisible grace,” and last Monday I had the opportunity to witness these treasures of the Church first-hand. Fr. Joe invited me to come for a ‘sickbed wedding’ up in the mountains. The couple had been civilly married for fifteen years, and now desired the blessing of the Church. Rizalindo, the husband, is extremely ill and confined to bed. His wife Leonilla lovingly cares for him. The local chapel leaders had taught them catechism classes and prepared them for the sacrament.
It was still cool when we left, and the morning sun shone brightly on the groves of coconut trees. When we arrived at the simple bamboo home about half a dozen family members were gathered for the occasion. They greeted Father with the respectfully affectionate term “Dre” (short for ‘Padre’, a product of the 300 years of Spanish colonization.)
[pullquote1 align=”right” variation=”blue”] “This man, wracked with pain and barely able to sit up, was now a son of God!” [/pullquote1] As Father began to fill out the paperwork, he discovered that the couple had not received many of the other sacraments. The husband was not baptized, and both he and his wife needed to be confirmed. Father administered all the necessary sacraments right there in the tiny bedroom. I was asked to be a godparent for Rizalindo’s baptism. This man, wracked with pain and barely able to sit up, was now a son of God! He had been “buried with [Christ] by baptism into death.” As Christ was “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,” Rizalindo now also “walks in newness of life!” (Romans 6:4)
Immediately after the baptism, both Rizalindo and Leonilla were confirmed. Again I had the honor of being her sponsor. Although I may never see her again in this life, I hope and pray that we will meet one day in Heaven. I will continue to pray for her, trusting that unity in the Lord transcends space and time. I wanted to give her a wedding gift, but all I had with me was my rosary. It was made of beautiful turquoise stones, and very dear to me. A family friend had made it, and the medals were blessed at various holy places throughout Europe. After daily Mass on the morning I left home to begin missionary training, she pressed it into my hand. “I want you to have this,” she said. “As you serve God’s people throughout the world, please remember to pray for us here.” I know that Leonilla’s fingers will pass over those beads many times, and that God will hear her faithful prayers.
As the couple exchanged wedding vows I was struck by the truth of their promise to be faithful to each other “in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.” These weren’t vague promises for ‘someday’ when hardships might arise. They were made in the face of very real, very present struggles. Sickness and poverty were a constant part of Rizalindo’s and Leonilla’s lives. Their love and commitment had been tested through suffering, and was found to be lasting.
When Rizalindo and Leonilla received Holy Communion I realized that I was reliving some of my favorite Gospel stories; literally walking with Jesus as he entered into people’s homes and healed them! The same Jesus who had visited Simon Peter’s mother-in-law and Jairus’s daughter was here present with us. He came in the humble appearance of bread but was truly present—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! Rizalindo, for the first time ever, received the Bread of Life, and was united to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Within a span of an hour Rizalindo and Leonilla had received six of the seven sacraments! What incredible graces they experienced; the floodgates of Heaven were open wide! To our earthly senses everything seemed placidly ordinary—a gentle breeze through the palm trees, kids laughing outside, the heat of the day rising. But just beyond the grasp of the physical senses a wild, joy-filled jubilation was breaking forth. All the saints and angels in Heaven were rejoicing over God’s boundless love for Rizalindo and his wife Leonilla!
My 8 month old daughter, Mara, loves to babble and sing. Often throughout the day, I catch myself gazing at her, laughing with her, as she delights in the sound of her own voice. What a wonder it is to her, that all those giggles and oos and ahs come from deep within her own belly! This, of course, peppered with some occasional crying and screaming. As charming as she is to her father and I, there is one time of the week that we have begun to dread – Mass time.
One Sunday a few months ago, we decided to attend an early morning Mass. Sensing that Mara was rather awake and alert, and realizing that she would soon be hungry, we intentionally sat towards the rear of the church, knowing we could opt for taking her to the back if she fussed. Our sweet baby was particularly happy this morning, and decided to sing and talk through the beginning of Mass. As the homily was drawing near, I got a little antsy…we were beginning to attract attention. Mara, being a baby, seems to think that the homily is a perfect stage to carry out a deep dialogue between herself and the priest – she always has a lot to say! Of course, we are working on ways to teach her the appropriate times to talk and the appropriate times to be quiet, but in the meantime she occasionally has a burst of bubbly conversation at the wrong time. To some around us, it is precious and they smile; to others, it is a nuisance they would rather not have to deal with.
“If she keeps up that talking, you will have to go to the Cry Room.”
This particular Sunday I could feel the glaring eyes, and I wanted OUT OF THERE. Moments after the Gospel was read an usher approached us, pointed us to the Cry Room and said, “If she keeps up that talking, you will have to go to the Cry Room.” Embarrassed, hurt, and not wanting to cause confrontation during the Mass, we removed ourselves voluntarily, but I must say we were pretty perturbed. All throughout the remainder of the Mass we were distracted from a prayerful participation in the Eucharist by recurring thoughts and feelings that we needed to sift through and somehow align with the truth of Christ. That, and we really wanted to stage a revolt – carrying Mara to the front pew and smiling at everyone as we passed. Needless to say, we didn’t do it that day, but since, we have made it our objective to sit near the front of the Church, teaching our daughter as we go that SHE forms an irreplaceable part of Christ’s Body, and that there are times that call for quiet.
There are certain things that we all know to be inappropriate for Mass, such as wearing ultra-revealing clothing, chatting to your neighbors, or markedly checking your watch every few minutes during Father’s homily. Still, some rude people have the nerve to break these unspoken rules, which at times, has sent the Pharisee in me into a wild rage. While some of these things are for the GOOD of the Church, such as dressing modestly to honor God and neighbor, there are certain behaviors and attitudes that we, the American Church, have adopted that I do not believe to be in conformity to Christ and His Gospel. Perhaps the biggest of these is our attitude towards children at Mass. Rather than being a place where little ones are welcomed as “the greatest in the Kingdom,” and are therefore trained to behave as God desires of His children, Church today is much better suited for pre or post children families. Leaving all of us who find ourselves somewhere in the middle out in the cold – of the Cry Room.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a hysterical child is disruptive to the Mass, and I am in favor of the removal of said child until the tantrum has cooled. I also am every day more keenly aware of how challenging it is to train and discipline children. I am much more understanding of some of my relatives who, in the past, have shared with me that they stopped attending Mass while their children were little as it was too difficult to maintain composure and reverence while their children played and talked and cried, all the while their neighbors (and even the priest) lovingly glared at them. But, I am also much more frustrated with the Church that pressures such parents into believing that their children have no place in the Church. And while I am sympathetic to those parents who find themselves in this situation, I have to believe there is a much better solution for the Church as a whole, than to round up all the littlest in God’s Kingdom and stick them into a Cry Room, where chaos is allowed to reign supreme.
What kind of a “Kingdom” are we building by casting the littlest ones away? And as my husband has oft repeated, when did Christ say, “Let the little children come to me…unless they are crying?” In Family Missions Company, we believe that from the beginning of their lives, our children have a vital role to play in the mission of our families and of the Church. When we have community prayer, the children are with us, in the middle of the room, playing, and as they grow, PRAYING with us.
“Children are the BEST missionaries! ”
We don’t leave our children behind so we can go into mission, because we know that children are the BEST missionaries! Often, because of our children, we have gained access to the lives and hearts of the people where God has sent us, and have been able to minister to their needs in a far greater way. And I have NEVER seen a Cry Room in the Church of the poor. Christ tells us that the Kingdom belongs to “such as these,” and that we “cannot enter the Kingdom unless we become like a child,” so why, then, do children, with their singing and their crying, not belong in the very heart of the Mass? Why have we created a Church that is so sterilized from the joyous, and often messy presence of our children? It is no wonder to me that young people leave the Church in droves – they have never been welcomed.
Sitting in the Cry Room I have often observed how tired parents are. We parents are tired, because disciplining our children is tiring. We are tired, because constantly looking over our shoulder, shushing our children, apologizing for their childlikeness, and feeling shamed by our inability to control them is tiring. We are tired, because we do not often give ourselves the space to “draw water deeply from the springs of salvation”. We are tired, and so we sit in the Cry Room and stop trying. Children in the Cry Room are not taught proper behavior for Mass. They are given free reign to run wild. Thus, the Church is quiet and happy, the children are unruly and happy, and we are distracted and unsatisfied. Is it any wonder that so many families stop attending Mass? We parents have lost our zeal for the Eucharist, we are too busy placating everyone else.
I believe that we, as a Church, need a total attitude adjustment – to learn the deepest meaning of PRO-LIFE. Priests need to welcome children to the Mass, even the chatty ones, as their own children. Our fellow Christians need to welcome children to their pews with a smile, for they are our inheritance and blessing from God! And we parents need to do the hard work of disciplining our children, and enthusiastically engaging them in prayer of every form. Let us stage that revolt!; against this “sterilized Church” we must stage a noble, worthy revolt. Let’s leave the Cry Rooms empty, as Christ left the tomb empty, and together embrace the fullness of life, as children are especially full of life, in the Church.
By Brooke Summers
A theme that the Lord has been speaking to me lately is holiness. Not an unattainable, unreachable, lofty type of holiness. But an everyday holiness. Often when I read the lives of the Saints, I feel like I will never reach the level of holiness that they did. Or I begin to feel like I am so lacking in my faith because I am not doing the things that they did. And truthfully I should feel called on by reading the lives of the Saints….I mean they are SAINTS! But why are they Saints? Because they said “yes” to Jesus and the call He placed in their lives. They said “yes” in the little ways, faithfully, so He continued to use them; and in the end they were able to say “yes” to Him in the big ways. [pullquote1 variation=”blue”] “What is God calling me to do?” [/pullquote1]
What is God calling me to do? Am I being faithful in the little ways? Am I loving God with all my heart, soul, and strength? Am I joyfully serving my husband, children, and people who God is placing before me everyday? Am I proclaiming the Gospel with every area of my life?? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then I am straying from God’s plan to make me holy. Saints are all different with various gifts, talents, and stories that all glorify God. I am a married woman with a 18 month old and a baby on the way – I cannot do the same things that Mother Teresa did. We have different callings.
In December of 2011 I had the great privilege of visiting the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India on a two-week short-term mission trip. I traveled with my husband and 9 month old son. Upon arriving at the Mother House (the main headquarters) I was in awe of how hard the sisters worked day in and day out, CONSTANTLY serving others. They get up very early in the morning, go to Mass, clean (and I mean a very old school sort of cleaning – washing everything by hand, scrubbing floors until they were shining, etc. every day) and work at the other centers taking care of the sick all day long. I began to feel sad that I could not serve God in the same capacity that they did. I could not even go to the different places that the sisters served because they feared my 9 month old son might catch a cold at the other places. Determined to serve in some way I began cleaning benches with a towel while my son napped in a baby sling that I was wearing.[pullquote1 variation=”blue” align=right ] “How greatly mothers sacrifice for God” [/pullquote1] This did not last very long because many of the Sisters and tourists that were visiting the Mother House were very interested in holding my son. One of the Sisters that I befriended during our time in India told me “How greatly mothers sacrifice for God” – I was surprised that this woman who pours out her life in ways that I cannot even begin to understand, could look at me and tell me that motherhood is such a great way to sacrifice for God. Sure motherhood is sacrificial, I will not deny that – but as mothers we get to squeeze our kids chubby little cheeks, tuck them in bed at night, and receive sweet hugs and kisses from our babies. She tucks in strangers, bathes children that are not her own, and loves those whom others deem un-lovable. How could she look at me and tell me I am sacrificial as a mother??? I said “Yes but Sister, look how you are able to serve God in so many ways that I cannot as a mother”. She said “Yes, but I am never awakened at night by a crying baby.” It hit me in that moment that it takes both of us doing what God has put before us to fully accomplish His task. We are working side by side building the kingdom in our own little ways.
Does that mean I am exempt from trying to live a simple life, full of love, compassion, and self-sacrifice like Mother Teresa? Absolutely not! I can praise God for the gift of her example and ask Him to give me the grace to see Jesus in others the way she did. But for me to be holy I must joyfully do all that God puts before me. God created each of us uniquely. So He intends on using each of us in a unique way. My path to becoming holy will always look different from some other Saints, but that does not mean that God is not giving me the opportunity to be a Saint. If I spend too much time focusing on the things that I cannot do for God, I will not allow Him to use me as He desires.
Two of our lovely missionaries serving in Sagay, on the Island of Camiguin in the Philippines, Susanna and Rebekah have begun a special campaign to connect those who have less, with those with more who might help them better their life, and their school.
Holy Rosary Catholic High School, where the our missionaries have taught for many years, is in need of some major repairs. As you will see in the video posted below, these less fortunate students have dreams of going on to college and becoming doctors, teachers, engineers and many other professions, at the service of their fellow man and God.
Will you help them by responding generously to these pressing needs to make Holy Rosary the school which creates saints and servants for the kingdom of God?
“Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of LOVE received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and JOY! – Pope Benedict XVI in his “Letter on the Year of Faith”
Mrs. Genie Summers, podcaster and founder of FMC writes of the Year of Faith; ” I woke up a couple of days ago, super “pumped up” about the Year of Faith. I shared on the podcast that the world around us has so many bleak things on the horizon, but I believe that the Year of Faith is going to have a bigger impact on the world we live in than presidential elections in the United States. It is our opportunity to enter into the New Evangelization and reach out to our Catholic brothers and sisters (our listeners) with the message of the Gospel.”
To listen to the episode click here: LISTEN
[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”left” variation=”blue” cite=”Pope Benedict XVI”]Christ sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim His Gospel to all the peoples of the earth.[/pullquote3]
Also, if you have not heard it yet, there are opportunities to receive plenary indulgences for preaching and sharing the faith throughout this year. For more info about how to receive these special graces go to the Year of Faith Website!