A challenging mission

NET Ministries of Canada is offering our current parish Lenten mission. This is the first time they undertake this kind of ministry, and I’m glad that they were so ready to accept, as it is a good way for their work to become better known.

During the course of this parish mission we were all challenged to come up with our own personal mission statement. For myself, one leapt to mind immediately:

To prepare the world for the second coming of Christ, and to work to hasten that Day.

But then I thought about it some more, and based on the talk of the Monday evening (which focussed on personal holiness) I modified this somewhat:

To prepare hearts (including my own) for the second coming of Christ, and to work to hasten that Day.

See the difference? I realised that the problem with the expression “the world” is that it de-personalizes the mission of the Church. Rather than working with human beings, loving them one at a time, it becomes a “working for humanity”. And these are not quite the same thing. The former involves concrete individuals, while the latter is a concept.

Another problem, of course, is that the former phrasing has a much more “external” nuance, such that I risk leaving *me* out of the equation! But I cannot bring others to love Christ if I don’t have that relationship myself first — otherwise, evangelization and spiritual care are marketing strategies. No, true Christian work needs to be about love, first and foremost.