Aparecida 284-285: A Formation in the Spirituality of Missionary Action

It’s not often we are urged to “docility” and “action” in the same sentence, but as the Aparecida bishops write of “A formation in the spirituality of missionary action,” it’s there to read:

284. Disciples must be formed in a spirituality of missionary action, which is based on docility to the impulse of the Spirit, to its life giving power which mobilizes and transfigures all dimensions of existence. It is not an experience limited to the private spaces of devotion, but rather seeks to penetrate everything with its fire and life. Moved by the drive and zeal that come from the Spirit, the disciple and missionary learns to express it in work, dialogue, service, and everyday mission.

I was struck by the phrase “penetrate everything with its fire and life.” We Christians cannot persist in seeing our lives as containing careful and separate realms. Do we feel better indulging our hobbies and pastimes by going to Church? Does Church feel good because we’ve gotten our fill of amusements and social engagements? The committed disciple sees no divisions. She or he is always ready to give good reason for her or his life in the  Spirit.

285. When the impulse of the Spirit permeates and motivates all areas of existence, it also pervades and shapes each individual’s specific calling. Thus the spirituality proper to priests, religious men and women, parents, business people, catechists, and so forth takes shape and develops.

This is an important thought. The Spirit finds and takes us where we are, as we are. As long as we continue a movement, a pilgrimage if you will, we will find ourselves caught up in a progression. This is a natural human progression from seeker to believer to disciple. Sometimes we have to retrace or renew our steps. Even clergy and religious. But in this movement we submit to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. And we show others on the road how it can be done.

Each of the vocations has a concrete and distinctive way of living spirituality which gives depth and enthusiasm to the specific performance of their tasks. Thus life in the Spirit does not enclose us in cozy intimacy, but makes us generous and creative persons, happy in proclamation and missionary service. We become committed to the demands of reality and able to find a profound significance for everything that we are entrusted with doing for the Church and for the world.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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