The Missionary Adventure

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“…although the standard bearer is not a combatant, yet nonetheless he is exposed to great danger, and, inwardly, must suffer more than anyone, for he cannot defend himself, as he is carrying the standard which he must not allow to leave his hands, even if he is cut into pieces. Just so contemplatives have to bear aloft the standard of humility and must suffer all the blows which are aimed at them without striking any themselves. Their duty is to suffer as Christ did, to raise the Cross high, not to allow it to leave their hands, whatever perils in which they find themselves, and not to let themselves be found wanting in suffering. It is for this reason that they are given such and honorable duty. Let the contemplative consider what he is doing; for if he lets the standard fall, the battle will be lost…”( Saint Teresa of Jesus, The Way of Perfection, chapter 18, 5). Thanks to the work that some of our religious do every week to communicate to us so beautifully some of the news of the Religious Family throughout the world, we probably all have very present that key expression of our religious consecration, by which we have committed ourselves, through the fulfillment of our four vows, to “not be evasive to the missionary adventure”[1] In our contemplative community, it has become custom for us to call “missionary adventure” every challenge, big or small, that we face every day in the performance of any task, work or office. Such adventures are common, they exist and have a lot of reality, but generally, due to their insignificance and smallness, they do not deserve any chronicle.

I believe that each one of us, without exception, has been able to experience Divine Providence – paternal, tender, and delicate – in our daily lives. And this is because, as we have solemnly proclaimed in a formal way, we have committed ourselves to not be reluctant to follow that path that God desires to take us. And it is God Himself who has the power to make the yoke easy and light for us (although sometimes it may not seem this way to us).

Many, many times when we consider our reality as contemplative Servidoras, we cannot help but rejoice greatly, be thankful, enthusiastic, and offer ourselves. It is not a small grace to be “contemplative missionaries” and to have brothers and sisters on so many front lines of the battle, who are risking their lives, their health, their strength, their creativity, their dedication, their… all for the sake of the Gospel.

This commits us and obliges us: we cannot “be evasive to the missionary adventure”! Even if this means embracing trifles of “nothingness”. Our little adventures which due to the vocation that has been given to us – although we do not deserve it; due to the fact that we belong to Our Lady; can through the work of Our Heavenly Mother and Queen be transformed and embellished, increasing their value for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

It is worthwhile to dedicate oneself to these small, daily battles. It is sufficient to see the battle fronts that our missionaries occupy, to recognize the magnitude of the intentions entrusted to our contemplative communities, to learn about the needs and battles of the Church in the world… It is worth it. But such an undertaking far exceeds all our human capacities. That is why we need the support of the prayers of the other members of our Religious Family. We need you all to ask also for us contemplatives the grace that we may “never be evasive to the missionary adventure” that usually does not present itself to us in an extraordinary, brilliant and splendorous way, but rather, hidden behind the simplicity of the little things of everyday life.

May Our Lady, Mother and Queen of our Religious Family and of each of our consecrated souls, accompany us, sustain us and grant us the grace to never reject any difficulty or challenge that God in his Providence has prepared for us. May she help us and teach us “not to be evasive to the missionary adventure”!

¡Viva y reine la Virgen! ¡Viva la misión!

Hna. María de la Unidad,
 contemplative in France.

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