Apostolic Projects for a Covenant Culture
Missions: Receiving so Much More Than we Give
SPAIN, Iván Vargas-Zúñiga Mendoza. Words cannot express so many different emotions, but in general, the Family Missions have filled me with a sense of happiness that I haven't experienced in such a long time. It filled an empty space in my heart and most of all it has left a 'well' in my entire family.
"Give freely what you have freely received:" During these missions, one receives so much more than one gives and even though this is contrary to the intended objective, it is incredible how well one feels when one has something wonderful to offer, and how filled one is after handing over everything.
Giving one's best for others
The Mission is filled with shared moments, caring gestures, selflessness, generosity, patience, discomfort, prayer, sacrifice, simplicity, humility, and love… There is no falseness, or egoism, or rivalries. Competitiveness is forgotten and everyone gains something from everyone else. Everyone gives their best for others and tries not to burden others with work they could do themselves.
It gives you time to let yourself be and reflect about what is really important in life. You question all the experiences lived, and you find yourself thinking about why some people whose houses you call on open their door and others ignore you, and afterwards, if you can establish a conversation, you place yourself in the other person's shoes, and draw closer to his circumstances and problems.
“Nothing Without You, Nothing Without US” becomes real
I believe that the aim of any Mission is to announce the Word of God, as he asked us to, regardless of whether we are accepted [by those we are sent to minister to] or not. It is the apostolic sending out that gives us Grace from the Blessed Mother in the Shrine. It is making the “Nothing Without You, Nothing Without Us” real.
You notice how religion is becoming less important in society and how people are becoming increasingly unhappy because they have nowhere to hide. In turn, you feel that people have this desire to re-live deep experiences of faith to give meaning to their own circumstances.
You sense the presence of the Holy Spirit because you find yourself saying things you didn’t plan, or you express yourself differently than normal. Your children seem like angels whose wings take them around in the homes, focusing on and asking about insignificant details that are charged with value, because they touch hearts. For example, when they ask: “Who is that in the photo?” “Why did you put that painting there?” and so on. They are the first to run and ring the doorbell or knock on the door, and the people who open their doors bring the children the most joy. They carry the Pilgrim Mother and feel proud to do so and are even careful about leaving her with their brothers.
We become more "fearful" as we lose our humility
We experienced a Holy Week unlike any other. I understood how the true love of God is in humility and selflessness. In humility, one can recognize his/her own weaknesses and sins, and know that Christ died precisely to deliver me from them. I can recognize this whenever I set aside pride and arrogance. I understood this in the simpler homes, where they open their door two by two and invite you inside and ask you to sit in their lounge to talk without fear. And how without a doubt, the greater people's buying power and the better the appearance of the houses, the more reserved they become about you entering their homes and some do not even answer the intercom. We become more fearful as we lose our humility.
I must also talk about the bonds that are formed when one lives so intimately under the same roof for several days. They are marvelous and lasting ties, because I am sharing not only with a person but also with the heart. We pray alone and in community, but in both cases, we do not pray for ourselves, but for others.
Finally, I want to say that denying myself holidays to go on Mission is that best thing that I could have done for my family and for myself.
A personal word of thanks to each and every one of the Missionaries (children and adults) for the way you welcomed my family and allowed us to become one of you, and thank you also to all those people who opened their homes and allowed us to reach them. “THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.”See also:
Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Pretoria, South Africa