This is my third year on mission as a volunteer teacher in Belize with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) and when I was asked to write a blog about “how I live mission” the answer seemed pretty straightforward.
I thought about aspects of my daily routine like morning prayer and mass with our community, a school day full of ministry for young Belizean college students, and evening prayer and fellowship at the end of the day that make up an external structure of mission life for me. But as I spent more time with this question, I sensed Jesus inviting me to go deeper and to ponder how I am truly living out His missionary call for me to be transformed interiorly and to participate in His work of transforming others. As our pastor Fr Tony put it last year, “we’re here to love God and save souls”.
I sensed Jesus inviting me to go deeper and to ponder how I am truly living out His missionary call
I began to ponder my interior disposition towards mission life and was promptly hit with one of the hardest weeks so far this year. All aspects of my life seemed to be crashing down on me with unending demands in my work, emotional tensions in community, and Holy Hours marked by distraction or just straight up falling asleep in the Presence of the Lord. I felt like I was kicking into “survival mode” just trying to make it to the end of the day in one piece so I could go to bed and hopefully get enough sleep to wake up the next day and start all over again.
I was starting to get pretty frustrated with myself and with the Lord when all of a sudden it hit me that the reason I was experiencing so much turmoil was that the Devil hates it when we try to go all in for Jesus. As a community, many of us had just begun an adaption of Exodus 90/Fiat 90 (two programs for men and women to find freedom from unhealthy habits/addictions through prayer and fasting) that we call “SOLT Freedom Quest”. This quest involved extra prayer commitments and fasts. Some of the aspects of the freedom quest include refraining from using social media, cutting out all snacks and sweets, exercising four times a week, and spending a Holy Hour in prayer each day. The purpose of the freedom quest is to surrender areas of our life that bind us in sin and keep us from being in loving communion with God and others. It is a quest for healing and deeper love. It is a quest to truly and radically live out mission in our daily lives. It is a quest that the Devil certainly does not want us to complete.
To surrender areas of our life that bind us in sin and keep us from being in loving communion with God
As soon as I identified this major spiritual change that we were striving for as a community, it made perfect sense that some of us, myself included, were experiencing greater challenges and spiritual attacks. It didn’t make my week any less overwhelming to name the cause of my distress, but it did give me courage to keep pressing forward, because I took it as a sign that we were on to something really good. The Devil doesn’t typically pull out the big guns unless you’re really getting fired up for the Lord.
I saw this week that Jesus was inviting me to deeper surrender in my work, in my friendships, and in my relationship with Him. When I felt like I couldn’t go on, He was there. When I had nothing left to give, He stepped in and filled my heart. When I admitted that I still don’t love Him very well, He reminded me that He’s the one pursuing my heart and that He will never abandon His acts of Love towards me. I saw this week that living mission truly means letting Jesus be the Lord of my whole life, not just my regular routine.
Living mission truly means letting Jesus be the Lord of my whole life
I know that I still have so much more to learn about what it means to truly love my mission and live my mission and that makes me feel really excited. I’m so thankful that there’s so much more to know and so many more ways to love than I have already experienced in my life so far. I can’t wait to see where this SOLT Freedom Quest takes me and I can’t wait to walk with Jesus more deeply into His Heart of Love which is the heart of mission.