Christus Vivit 239-241: Always Missionaries

Let’s begin a sub-section titled, “Always missionaries.” Pope Francis seems to think we have a ready-made group nearly good to go:

239. Here I would point out that it doesn’t take much to make young people missionaries.

Missionaries need not be perfect:

Even those who are most frail, limited and troubled can be missionaries in their own way, for goodness can always be shared, even if it exists alongside many limitations.

Missionary work is simple, relational, and might even be accidental:

A young person who makes a pilgrimage to ask Our Lady for help, and invites a friend or companion along, by that single gesture is being a good missionary.

“Popular” in this context again means oriented to people, not popularity and definitely not words or principles or dogma:

Inseparable from a “popular” youth ministry is an irrepressible “popular” missionary activity that breaks through our customary models and ways of thinking. Let us accompany and encourage it, but not presume to overly regulate it.

The Holy Father makes a case that “youth ministry is always missionary.” It begs the question that what about when it’s not. We might say that ministry emphasizing obedience or doctrine, however correct, is not really youth ministry.

240. If we can hear what the Spirit is saying to us, we have to realize that youth ministry is always missionary. Young people are greatly enriched when they overcome their reticence and dare to visit homes, and in this way make contact with people’s lives. They learn how to look beyond their family and their group of friends, and they gain a broader vision of life. At the same time, their faith and their sense of being part of the Church grow stronger.

What do you make of this:

Youth missions, which usually take place during school holidays after a period of preparation, can lead to a renewed experience of faith and even serious thoughts about a vocation.

Missions have an element of pilgrimage. Perhaps things like service trips don’t contain an element of visiting sacred sites as recognized, but they still involve travel to places outside of oneself and one’s usual surroundings. I don’t recall so many of these opportunities when I was a young person.

241. Young people can find new fields for mission in the most varied settings. For example, since they are already so familiar with social networks, they should be encouraged to fill them with God, fraternity and commitment.

The Holy Father’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation can be found on this link at the Vatican site. Meanwhile, any comments?

The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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