The Companions Pilgrimage to Sorrowful Mother Shrine included a presentation by Fr. David Matz on The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) by Pope Francis. The section he presented, examined what an evangelizing community of missionary disciples looks like. The Pope’s points helped me to reflect on what it means to be a Precious Blood missionary disciple.
All discipleship begins with the realization that God has loved us first. Jesus has laid down his life and shed his Precious Blood for our redemption. All of us are sinners and are cleansed with the Blood of the Lamb. It is out of a sense of gratitude and love, we respond to a call of discipleship and to the call of the Precious Blood of Jesus to be a Companion.
How do we go out, wash feet, become involved in people’s everyday lives and smell like a sheep? It is in our own brokenness we respond to the cry of the Blood. We venture out into the streets full of broken people and broken dreams. We are called to be a bridge for the broken and vulnerable. We are reconcilers bringing mercy not judgment. We risk standing in the breach for others, a place of tension, always hopeful in the power of the Blood. It is to walk with others for however long it takes, no matter how hard it gets and inconvenient it may be. It is to look up at the crucifix of the marginalized and those on the edges of society and into the eyes of pain of our brothers and sisters and to know you are seeing the face of Christ. To reach out and touch their wounds and know their suffering. All blood is precious.
Where do we find the joy, the strength and the courage to pour out the cup of our lives for others? We find it at God’s Eucharistic banquet table. A place where we are accepted as we are, all inclusive and welcomed. We find it in community where we are called to journey with and support one another. It is from these sacred places we are empowered by the Blood of Christ and sent to share our gifts with the world. How do we recognize if we are bearing fruit of new life? God will fill us with an abundance of love, joy and gratitude that is overflowing and we can’t keep for ourselves, it must we given away for others.
Recently, I have experienced the joy, love and peace of Precious Blood community at St. Charles, St. Joseph College, Sonnino House, Most Holy Redeemer parish in the Castro, Liberty Center, Sorrowful Mother Shrine, in cars, airplanes, airports, and restaurants. Community is also where a shepherd holds my feet to the fire and challenges me to grow into everything God created me to be. Open to the Holy Spirit and filled with fire and passion.
What does an evangelizing community of missionary disciples look like? It looks like Precious Blood to me.
Pat Large – Convener of Carthagena Companions, Carthagena, OH