By Neil Doherty
“Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God – and I care not whether they be clergy or laymen – they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.” – John Wesley
The time I spent in missions helped me become a man of action. We often speak as if Christianity is primarily a defensive lifestyle concerned with protecting ourselves from bad environments, escaping from certain sins and hiding in Church for an hour a week. However, when I heard the call to missionary life in college, I understood immediately that it was a summons to leave passivity behind and “GO into the world” (Mk 16:15) to engage it with the power and truth of Jesus Christ.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to sweat through my shirt on work projects, ride donkeys into villages, care for lepers, and preach on street corners in 4 continents. Missions taught me that my place in the Church as a man is not a Sunday morning pew or a table in a smoke-filled Knights of Columbus hall – it’s in the homes of the forgotten, at the bedside of the dying and in the alleys where Jesus makes His home in the disguise of the poor.
John Paul II wrote in the year 2000 that the time has come to wholeheartedly re-propose the extraordinary standard of ordinary Christian living. It was in my time as an FMC missionary that I rediscovered the adventure, the challenge and the joy that is being a disciple of Christ.
“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” – James 2:18-19
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