Posts Tagged With: smile

A Joyful Meeting, A Joyful Apostolate………

So, I’m sittin’ in the Chancery waiting for the Vocations Commission meeting to start, when I spy this little magazine titled “The Voice of the Legion of Mary”. In it was an article, “The Joy of Being Catholic”. The whole article was fantastic. However, I was particularly fascinated by the two sections whose titles form the title of this post. I present them to you below.

A Joyful Meeting

The meeting should be the breeding place of Christian joy, and what Frank Duff calls “Legion Humour”.  It is at our meeting that we share the joy of the apostolate we undertake. Because of the harsh realities of some conditions met on Legion work, this makes it all the more important to develop his idea of a joyful attitude, in our fellow legionaries. He entitles a chapter of his book Woman of Genesis (published 1976), “Legion Humour”. In it he gives an explanation of the importance of humour in the Legion.It is in order to encourage at our meetings joy, happiness and openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit where a joke/humour is concerned. A “heavy” meeting, in the eyes of a new recruit, could be transformed into being “not so bad” or even “good” by the delicate touch of Legion humour. The President of each praesidium is encouraged to rise about the tiredness of a busy day or sleepless night and be the leaven that raises the mood of each meeting. This is true of all the members and not just the officers.

A Joyful Apostolate

Our Apostolate should know no bounds. According to Frank Duff, one should be willing to walk the ends of the earth in pursuit of a single soul, but are we willing to smile? In his first publication, he emphasizes how much a joyful disposition can contribute to an effective apostolate. For him a “smiling face” and “cheerful words” will help those you visit to really look forward to your return. In his Encyclical entitled Christian Joy, Pope Paul VI speaks of the Joy we receive from having faith and he calls us to be Apostles of this joy, He says: All those who believe in Christ are called to share this joy. Jesus wishes them to have in themselves His joy in its fullness.

I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them. –John 17:26–

Our apostolate must be approached in the way of building relationships and no better way than with humour.

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DESERT DAY – PART 2

I know at least one other person saw it cuz I heard somebody gasp slightly as he did it. Immediately I thought of the story in the Bible of the poor lady who put her two last coins as a tithe, and I knew right then and there that Omar had just made the Scriptures come to life for me. This man has NOTHING! And he still gave of himself and his blessings. Praise God for his witness! The last thing I remember about Omar was after Mass, we all gathered for a picture with him right outside the Cathedral After the picture, I brought some of his stuff down the stairs to the corner where he was sitting & waited for them to wheel him down the ramp on the opposite corner. As they were wheeling him down the sidewalk towards the corner where I was sitting at, I had another huge blessing. I got to see his beautiful smile, he beautiful face, and his wonderful laugh. It’s as if his whole face & laugh & expression was full of love & joy. Most definitely I felt like I was seeing Jesus face to face. So after another visit with him, joking around with him & he with us, we prayed with him & went on our way. Lest I forget, we also were able to get some medicine for him and some alms as well.

The next two things I’d like to mention is God’s timing & the power of prayer (especially in the Presence of Jesus’ Body in the Eucharist). Yesterday evening, after we got back from Saltillo, we had a few hours of free time. Towards the end of that free time, I was lying down in the courtyard looking up at the stars. After about 30 minutes, I decided to get up and walk around to see what others were doing.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DEAD BATTERY

11-29-09 (last installment)

I also feel like God blessed me with the Joy of the Lord. It’s like I’ve been embedded with this true and unshakeable joy and it’s such a blessing. I felt this joy the whole time I was on the mission trip and felt like I was at peace and at home. When we got back to Big Woods this morning, my car battery was dead, so I felt like that was God calling me to spend the night at Big Woods. I was in no rush to get home, and any chance to extend the trip further and be around FMC more was fine by me. 🙂

I slept till 11 and then I woke up to go find Joe Summers to help me jump my car battery. As I was walking to the main FMC house from the home where I slept, the weather was absolutely beautiful. And as I made my way over, this happy little thought popped into my head “Ahhh. This is the life! I could definitely see myself doing this”. I can’t lie, that thought brought a smile to my face. 🙂

So now as the day draws to a close, I face another week of going back to work. While I’m blessed to have a job, it’s so hard to go back to it when all I wanna do is go on missions. But I know that if God is calling me to missions with FMC (which I think he is), he’ll use this time to start preparing me and my loved ones. Part of that plan is my desire to be around FMC as much as possible and do as much as I can. Praise you Lord Jesus and thank you for blessing me so much this week. I pray that you would continue to help me grow and to nourish these needs of faith that you have planted in me this week. Amen, Alleluia, Glory!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – PULLED OVER BY THE POLICIA

11-29-09 (continued)

When I look back at all the mission trips I’ve already been on, and how the Lord got me involved with FMC over the past few months, it amazes me. When I think about how much I was blessed on this mission trip, how much I felt at home, and how much joy I feel, it all makes perfect sense. I think it is God trying to open me up to missions. As I said earlier during the week, “God, I give you my Yes, I pray that you help me take care of the rest.” I could go on and on and fill up at least a few more pages in my journal, but I’ll stop here. 🙂

After we finished up our prayer and sharing time, we loaded up and left. Our drive back was another one of my favorite parts of the trip. We saw some amazing desert and mountain scenery and just marvelled at the beauty of God’s creation. We actually got stopped by the Mexican police in the town of Monclova, but luckily all they did was check our documents and allow us on our way. I’ve heard some interesting stories about missionaries having run-ins with Mexican police as well as border patrol on both sides. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit guided us through it without incident.

Of course it was quite a long drive, especially with all the bathroom breaks and other stops. We left at approximately 10am Saturday morning and didn’t get back to Big Woods until 6am this morning. But again, the car ride is half the fun. I really enjoyed the car ride back because of the missionaries I got to ride with; Johnathan Weiss, Bree (intake 09), and Kristin Istre. We talked, we sang, we laughed, we played games, and really enjoyed ourselves. I especially enjoyed having a captive audience of full-time missionaries whose brains I could pick at to learn more about missions.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DESIRE TO BE A MISSIONARY

11-29-09 (continued)

I feel so blessed by their presence and prayers at all of the rancho visits and when they come to our medical clinic. I also had the blessing of being on the construction work team and helping a local friend of the Casa de Misiones to do some work on his house. I could see Christ in every one of their faces and fell his presence. It moved my heart so much and these people fascinated me so much that I just wanted to sit and watch them. And I know we went there to heal them and bring the Good News of Jesus, but I feel like their prayers and presence healed me way more than what little I was able to do for them.

The other thing that was a huge blessing for me was fellowship with the other missionaries. I had been frequenting FMC quite a bit this semester and get to know everyone who was @ Intake this year. Getting to fellowship and visit, and do ministry side-by-side with them was such a blessing and helped me to grow alot. I also enjoyed the fellowship with some of full-time missionaries that came on the trip with us. I am so in awe of their holiness and dedication and i deeply desire to do what they do………..

As far as what I would leave in Mexico, it was my fear/distrust that God would not take care of everything in my life & provide for me if I discerned a call to be a full-time lay Catholic missionary. God really rocked my world when he proved to me how he could provide the means for me to be able to go on this mission trip. It has inspired so much confidence in me to be able to trust in the Lord and more freely discern a calling to missions. And as if I hadn’t already given it away, what I take with me is a STRONG desire to be a full-time missionary.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – BACK HOME

Sunday 11-30-09 / 5:05pm @ Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Praise God for a fruitful mission trip and safe passage back home. After Desert Day on Friday, we came back to the mission house and basically wrapped up and started packing up. We had a time of prayer and sharing which I enjoyed very much. Just hearing how much God spoke to everyone during our time of prayer out in the desert was such a blessing. The rest of the evening was spent eating supper, packing up, and enjoying the fellowship of the other missionaries. As I wrapped up the night, I went into the chapel and Jesus blessed me so much with his presence. I felt so at peace and comfortable in that stillness of prayer in the presence of the Eucharist.

A nice little side-bonus was hearing all the girls giggling and laughing in their room. At the time, I wasn’t really sure why exactly they were so loud and happy. But it brought me joy to hear them being so happy. Saturday was wake up, pack the vehicles, eat breakfast, and prayer/sharing before we left. The time of prayer/sharing was very fruitful. It seemed like b/c we had a small group, we were able to bond more and have a more prayerful atmosphere during the mission. Everybody got to praise God through singing as well as prayers of petition and thanksgiving. In our sharing time, we had to say 1) What blessed us most during the mission, 2)What we were going to leave behind, and 3) What we were going to take with us. Without a doubt, it is the people we ministered to that blessed me the most. I can now see why Mother Theresa was in love with the poor; it’s b/c they are near and dear to God’s heart. (to be continued)

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – COWS WHILE I PRAY

Friday 11-27-09 / Desert Day part 2

So as I was sitting here praying, reading Scripture, and journalling, I started to hear a strange noise. (Mind you that i’m sitting in a small ravine where a small stream is running through it. Altogether, it’s maybe 20 or 30 fee wide at most.) As I look up, i see cows walking towards me! Of course I wonder what the Lord is doing….. After they keep coming and coming, I start to worry a little bit. The thought of being stampeded or gored by a 2000 lb. angry hunk of meat is not my idea of a fruitful Desert Day. My other thought is that I don’t wanna create movement or distraction by relocating myself and possiblely spook these beasts.

So I stay put, right where I am on the very edge of the banks of this stream. Amazingly, these huge animals were wary of ME! Every single one of them eye-balled me as they passed by. They gave me as wide of a passing distance as they went by. They gave me as wide of a distance as they possibly could. Even then, I had some of them passing a mere 10 feet or so from me. What are the chances that at the exact same time I’m here, a herd of cattle would be passing by?

At the end of the herd was the cattle driver, who I’m sure was confused as to why a strange little gringo is sitting in the exact ravine where he is driving his cattle. I mustered up my best Spanish to explain what was going on and he even let me take a picture of him. After he and his cattle moved on, I marvelled in this simple encounter. I wondered if God was trying to teach me anything or any grand lesson. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize it was just a little something to bring a smile to my face, and to give me the first of hopefully many great stories from the mission field. God Bless!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DESERT DAY PART 1

Friday 11-27-09 / Desert Day outside of General Cepeda, Mexico
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Lord Jesus, I praise and thank you for this wonderful time of prayer and ministry here in Mexico. Thank you Lord God for calling me to missions this week. The faith and beauty of the people here in Mexico has been a source of healing for me Lord. I offer up to you in prayer Lord all those whose help and generosity allowed me to answer your call to missions this week. Lord, by their generosity, heal them and help them to heal others. Praise you Lord God for your abundant generosity in providing me fellow missionaries with whom I can fellowship and grow closer to you. Their witness, their faithfulness, their “Yes” to your call to foreign missions brings me such joy and happiness.

God, I feel like I am one among fellow co-workers in the vineyard. I never felt like or thought that I’d be here at this moment, and I never imagined that I’d be discerning a call to be foreign lay missionary. Every one of these missionaries has been a witness to the joy of following where you lead and preaching the love of God. Lord Jesus, I honestly cannot think of anything else I’d rather do. Please Lord, give me the strength and courage to answer your call to foreign missions. With the beauty of your creation as my witness, I unquestionably and irrevocably now give you my “Yes”. Affirm this call Lord, and help me to begin ordering my life so that I can follow this call. Open doors that need to be opened, and soften hearts that need to be prepared. As I prepare to leave behind my friends and family, help my absence to be the space you need to heal them. Lord raise up generous people who can help me follow the call to foreign missions. Praise You Lord Jesus. Alleluia! 🙂
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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – NO MORE WORK

Thursday 11-26-09 / 10:05pm @ the chapel @ FMC Mission House in General Cepeda, Mexico
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Another day, another abundance of blessings. Today was our last day of work projects since tomorrow is desert day. We finished hauling up cinder blocks and sand that was being used to build a bathroom. We also hauled up and connected some pipe for the sewer line from the toilet. After we finished, we headed back to the mission house a little bit early to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Even though it’s not celebrated in Mexico, we did it anyways. People from the community were invited to celebrate with us. It was a great time of joy and fellowship. The rancho visit tonight was amazing also!

I know that sometimes we receive consolation and comfort from God, and tonight I was blessed with that. It seems like from the moment we got there until the moment we left, I felt joy and happiness and was smiling. Whether it was talking and joking with each other as we went door to door to invite people, or whether it was seeing the smile on the kids’ faces, there was joy. It seems like the adults were really joyful too. Seems like no matter what was going on, I couldn’t help but to be joyful and smile. 🙂 I gave my testimony tonight, and as nervous as I was, enjoyed that too. These poor people who are so rich in faith and who are so dear to Jesus’ heart, blessed me so much by their presence and their faith. Most of them came up when we broke up into prayer teams, and that was an amazing witness as well. Once again, their beautiful souls brought me joy and I could see Christ in every one of them. Thank You Lord for such an amazing blessing and help me to grow in these graces! Amen!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – SALTILLO

Wednesday 11-25-09 / 10:45pm in the office @ FMC Mission House in General Cepeda, Mexico
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If I could type these entries, then maybe, just maybe, I could tell you all the awesome stuff that has been happening today and this week. Today was an especially great day. Of course we did our normal morning work projects and work. The afternoon and evening we spent in Saltillo, the nearest large city. It was a leisurely excursion as well as a mini-pilgrimage. We took time to visit the market, and I bought a blanket for each of my benefactors from this trip. (btw, benefactors, I forgot to tag you in the first note, so i’m tagging you in this one) Following Joe Summers’ advice, I took a picture of each blanket, will donate the blankets to the mission house here to give to a poor family, and then give the picture and write a note to my benefactors. Then we got to visit the Cathedral in Saltillo and go to Mass there as well. We even came across a tour guide who brought us up to the bell tower and got to take some really great pictures. The absolute best part of the day though, was meeting a crippled guy named Omar outside of the Cathedral. I was blessed to see him on my way into the Cathedral and when I stepped back outside, I saw alot of the missionaries visiting with him. That gave me the additional blessing of being able to visit with him, pray with him, and even give him my beanie-cap from South Africa & my St. Benedict crucifix as well. It sounds very small (and it is), but I felt privileged and blessed to be able to give these to him. He was so appreciative of that. He was also very happy that we were visiting and talking with him. Apparently, he gets treated badly and people talk bad about him as he sits in front of the Cathedral every day (this is what he told us himself).

His smile was one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen. When I looked into his eyes, I realized and reminded myself that I was looking into the very eyes of Christ. This man had such a beautiful soul… One of the other missionaries was able to bring him to Mass with us. Throughout the whole Mass, I wanted to just look at him. I know I was hearing the Word of God, and I know I received Jesus in the Eucharist. BUT, I was so captivated by this man. I was fascinated by him. After Mass, we brought him back outside to his spot in front of the Cathedral for him to meet his ride. Right as we were leaving, his last request was to get a hug from all of us. Again, I was floored by this poor, simple, and humble man. It was the best hug I’ve ever given/received in my whole life. As great as the whole day was, meeting Omar absolutely made my day. The icing on the cake was getting to talk with two of the missionaries on our way back to the mission house about being in missions, discerning missions, etc… (John-Paul Papuzinski & Kristin Istre). I loved talking with them about their mission experience. It seems like every time I talk with any of the missionaries about that kind of stuff, it awakens a desire in me to do the same thing. I even said on the ride to Saltillo (at the urging of the other missionaries) that I was officially giving God my “Yes”. 🙂 They all smiled, clapped, and hooted and hollered, and it felt great! I did tell God though, that he’d have to help me find a way to do it!

So we come again to the end of another day filled with blessings, anticipating what tomorrow’s day of mission work will bring. God I pray that you would continue to prepare the way by opening doors and softening hearts. God Bless!

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