Our spiritual journey

Sister Ruth Bolarte

All the baptized have received from Christ, as the Apostles did, the command of mission: “Go into the entire world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). The Good News is Christ in whom we find true life as children of God. When we grasp how much God loves us to send his Son for our sake, we are compelled to let everyone know of this saving love.

Many of us grew up with the idea that those who traveled to “far away” lands to proclaim Christ’s message were the only ones with a missionary spirit. Certainly those missionary men and women dedicate their lives to bring word of the Kingdom of God to spanerse peoples across the world. But our discipleship at home is also in essence a call to be missionary. The Holy Spirit gives us courage to announce Christ where He is not accepted or where He is not known. In imitation of the first missionaries who brought the Christian faith to America, Asia, and other continents, we are also the new seed of evangelization for many in places not too “far away.”

Our Holy Father Benedict XVI has affirmed that new dimensions have been opened in our missionary commitment. The field of the mission has been extended and is no longer defined only in terms of geography. In our day, missionary activities do not take place solely with non-Christian people and in far away lands. Discipleship and mission are like two sides of a single coin: when the disciple is in love with Christ, he/she cannot stop proclaiming to the world that only in Christ do we find salvation (Aparecida, 375, 146).

Our journeys to holiness are not inspanidualistic journeys or an escape from the society in which we live toward an exclusively spiritual world. We cannot be indifferent to the reality in which we live. Knowing what is happening around us should prompt us to evangelizing action.

In imitation of Jesus, love of God and love of neighbor are one. In the most humble we find Jesus Himself and in Jesus we find God (God is love, 15). Only, when we live as missionary disciples can we be agents of transformation for a more human society.

Sister Ruth Bolarte, I.H.M., is the director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization in Philadelphia.