Becoming more joyful missionaries

Author: Peter Dusicka, SVD, Coordinator for Spiritual Animation
Subject: Nos. 52-53 of the 18 GC Statement
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: SVD Spiritual Animation Coordinator
Year: 2021
Vigil of the beatification

“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” Dear confreres, dear friends. The words I have just quoted cannot be found in this booklet, containing the Documents of the 18 General Chapter. These words are the very first words of Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium on the proclamation of the gospel in today’s world.

Yet, when we look at the last sentences of the Chapter Statement, we find a similar statement: “This calls us to share in the paschal mystery of Jesus, directing us to renew and transform ourselves and others, thus becoming more joyful missionaries.”

The result of our renewal and transformation shall become visible in our lives, especially through our JOY.

Let us have a look at the official logo of the 18 General Chapter, which was carefully chosen. What do we see there? Five persons of different colors, representing all continents, raising joyfully their hands up, embracing the whole world. We may not feel so enthusiastic all the time. We may even become suspicious of people, who try always to be so passionate. Especially now, during the time of Covid 19 Pandemic, when we need to deal with many who lost not only job but also their beloved ones. In these delicate situations, a more sensitive approach is needed.

Yet, joy could still be there. Joy is the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who lives in us and guides us, when we are open to him and follow his lead.

The Chapter Statement leads us to joy through three concrete steps.

The first one is the experience of God´s love, which was revealed to us in its fullness in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word. We let ourselves be embraced by it. And it is exactly this love of Christ that impels us to move forward in our mission.

The second step is our rootedness in the Word of God. Pope Francis exhorted members of the General Chapter: “If you are anchored in the Word of God, rooted in it, if you assume it as the foundation of your lives and let the Word burn in your hearts (Lk 24:32); this Word will transform them – your hearts – and will make each one of you a real missionary.”

The third step is our commitment to mission. When we step out of our comfort zones, when we reach out to the needy, the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts with joy. We will never learn to swim if we do not jump into the water. We will never experience joy if we do not commit ourselves to mission.

Dear confreres, dear friends, this is the last video in the cycle of videos on spiritual animation based on the 18th General Chapter Statement. The idea was to transmit the spirit of the chapter, to keep the fire burning. I thank sincerely all those who participated in it. The project ends, but not our renewal. Why not? Because the Love of Christ impels us to be rooted in the Word and committed to his mission.

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