“My mission of being in the heart of the people is not just a part of my life or a badge I can take off; it is not an “extra” or just another moment in life. Instead, it is something I cannot uproot from my being without destroying my very self. I AM MISSION ON THIS EARTH” Pope Francis
What Pope Francis wrote about mission is how it should be for every Christian: we cannot be divorced from our mission. We cannot separate our life from what He asks of us to do with our life. And if we are made by God and grafted into the body of Christ in baptism, then we are automatically commissioned for mission, for discipleship. HIS life was mission, so ours must be as well.
Perhaps it sounds like a vague concept that’s difficult to describe, but mission simply means to walk in step with the Lord. He will put in front of you what He’s asking of you. Mission meets us each morning as we move into our day. Can we take some time to surrender our day to the Lord? That’s part of your mission today. You have served your spouse and children in the small things of the day, maybe doing some chauffeuring or cleanup. That was mission. Maybe you lost your temper, but then conquered your pride to humbly apologize and ask for forgiveness. Again, that was mission. You gave some hard-earned money to a charitable organization that feeds the poor or protects the unborn. You spoke a soft word to someone who just needed a little hope. You live with pain or chronic illness and offer up your suffering for those who desperately need to know God’s love. All of these are you living out mission. Mission, mission, mission.
I live a single life and my mission, at the moment, is filled mostly with family commitments (which includes my actual work as I work for family), cultivating strong friendships and maintaining a daily prayer life. I find that in my vocation, it can be a little more nuanced to know what exactly the mission is, but certainly it is possible to live it as best as you can. After all, Jesus isn’t trying to hide it from us! If you’re married or in a religious community, much of your time is spoken for and has a clear direction. In the single life, you really have to make a commitment to be available in the ways Jesus asks you to be available. Having a prayer life is vital to moving in step with the Holy Spirit.
It is easy to be selfish and live for your own benefit. Really easy, and I’ve certainly experienced that temptation. But when you’re living just for you, life becomes so bland and pallid. It gets old, and eventually you become boring as you yourself get bored, which is something no one really wants. And no one wants it because it is not what we’re made for! It’s like what Pope Francis said in his quote, “we cannot uproot mission from our being without destroying our very selves.” To live for ourselves alone is to abandon the mission, and then we can never discover our true selves.
Living without mission sucks all the purpose out of existence. Alternately, to live for Jesus is to embrace the mission for which He created you, and to discover your true self in discipleship.