REFLECTIONS. introduction and extracts from THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY October 2019

OCTOBER has been declared by Pope Francis as Extraordinary Month of Mission (EMM) with the theme “Baptised and Sent, Christ’s Church on Mission in the World.”

It is to be a month of prayer and action calling us all to renew our missionary commitment i.e. sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with all peoples.  Dioceses and parishes will be commemorating this in various ways.  The month commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XV Maximum Illud on missionary activity.

Missionaries were traditionally those who had left their home and family to follow Jesus and spread the gospel. Today the call to be missionaries has broadened. Through his encyclical EVANGELII GAUDIUM Pope Francis has opened up the mission and invites all the baptised to be missionaries in their daily lives. This does not mean leaving home and family, but having a missionary attitude as families and laity in the Church but especially in the world.

MARFAM OVERVIEW.  October: Family Mission Matters.  Although we are firstly responsible for ourselves and our own families our common mission as Christians is to care for our neighbour too. Our mission is to be disciples and spread the Good news of God’s love to others. MARFAM’s mission is to promote the wellbeing of every member and all families. This also means promoting the vision of the big  church as a” family of families.” A bride and groom are consecrated and through this grace they build up the Body of Christ and are a domestic Church. The Church looks to the Christian family, which manifests her in a real way. God has given the family the job of domesticating the world and helping each person to see fellow human beings as brothers and sisters. AL 183  

Setting the scene.  Using the SEE-JUDGE-ACT approach a short “look at life” piece in different settings is followed by a selection from the scripture passages of the day and a quotation from Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium, (The Joy of Love) his encyclical on evangelisation. As it is also the Month for the Elderly in SA we become aware of our “golden oldies” too.      

As we celebrate the feast of St Francis this month families could choose to pray his popular prayer daily at home, or the special Mission Month Prayer from http://www.october2019.va/en/mmsott2019.html.

PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;  where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;  where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;  where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.     Amen.

 

October 1st .  “Why did you give me the name Therese?” her daughter wanted to know. “My catechism teacher talks about St Therese as the little flower. That sounds kind of soppy to me.” Her mom explained, “Therese wasn’t really a soppy girl even though she was quite spoilt by her older siblings after her mother died.  At 14 she had a wonderful conversion experience that changed her life, filling her with God’s love.  At 15 she was allowed to become a Carmelite nun and in the convent she began to develop her spiritual approach towards holiness of child-like confidence in God’s love and mercy. She called it her “little way” and as she loved flowers she called herself the “little flower of Jesus.”  She suffered from ill-health and died of TB at age 24 having dedicated her suffering to God for the salvation of others. She was canonised and later appointed patron saint of the missions.

Whoever humbles himself like this child he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.  Matt 18:1-5. Pope Francis: We can say that God’s heart is touched by our intercession, yet in reality he is always there first. What our intercession achieves is that his power, his mercy and his faithfulness are shown ever more clearly in the midst of the people.   EG 283

October 2nd.  Guardian angels.  Little Wandile said to his granny, “I always thought my guardian angel walked beside me or behind me, but here in the Bible it says he walks in front. Is that to show the way?  I know that people say that men never ask for directions but I like that idea. I hope I remember when I grow up that I have a guardian angel and also that it is good to ask for directions.”

“Thus says the Lord,  “Behold I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. If you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”   Exodus 23:20-23   Pope Francis:   Accompaniment teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other. EG169

 October 3rd.  Bruce and Paula were very conscious of doing things together as a couple, even their missionary work. “It really helps us in our own relationship if we speak about Jesus like this. We do each have our own thoughts that we share, but then we also listen and learn from one another. It’s not just about doing the preaching is it?”

The Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come.  He told them, “first say, ‘peace be to this house!’  and if a son of peace is there your peace shall rest upon him, but if not, it shall return to you.”   Luke 10:1-12.   Pope Francis:  The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples is a missionary joy. The seventy disciples felt it as they returned from their mission. This joy is a sign that the Gospel has been proclaimed and is bearing fruit.  EG21 

October 4th.   St Francis.  End of season of Creation from September 1 to October 4. The families that belonged to their faith sharing group came together for this special day. “What kind of missionary was St Francis?”  Amy asked them all to consider.  ‘He did leave home. He did give away all his belongings. He did go to a faraway place to speak to a Muslim sultan about making peace.  But, I think his mission was to teach people to show God’s love, to love everyone and everything like nature and be full of a special kind of joy.”  “Maybe all of us need to be like that, as we are all supposed to be missionaries.”

Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.   Matt 11:25-30.   Pope Francis: God’s word is unpredictable in its power.  The gospel speaks of a seed, which, once sown, grows by itself, even as the farmer sleeps.  The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word which accomplishes what it will in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking.   EG22  

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