Not Only Giving to the Missions But Receiving From Them As Well
Cooperating in missionary activity means not just giving but also receiving. All the particular churches, both young and old, are called to give and to receive in the context of the universal mission, and none should be closed to the needs of others. The Council states: “By virtue of…catholicity, the individual parts bring their own gifts to the other parts and to the whole Church, in such a way that the whole and individual parts grow greater through the mutual communication of all and their united efforts toward fullness in unity…. Between the different parts of the Church there are bonds of intimate communion with regard to spiritual riches, apostolic workers and temporal assistance.”(Lumen Gentium 13)
Pope John Paul II is spot-on here. The purpose of the mission apostolate is not making a bequest to the uninitiated. Even Jesus engaged in mutual exchanges with the people he met. The New Testament witness likewise: Saint Paul had a great regard for the people he met and nourished in the Gospel. They likewise nurtured and aided him. A missionary unprepared to receive is like a person who only exhales and never breathes in.
I exhort all the churches, and the bishops, priests, religious and members of the laity, to be open to the Church’s universality, and to avoid every form of provincialism or exclusiveness, or feelings of self-sufficiency. Local churches, although rooted in their own people and their own culture, must always maintain an effective sense of the universality of the faith, giving and receiving spiritual gifts, experiences of pastoral work in evangelization and initial proclamation, as well as personnel for the apostolate and material resources.
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