By Nimmi Candappa
This series of Charism Corners continues exploring how we, as part of the De Mazenod Family, can incorporate more fully into our lives the various components of the Oblate Charism.
We fulfill our mission in and through community to whom we belong. Our communities are, therefore, apostolic. By growing in unity of heart and mind, we bear witness before the world that Jesus lives in our midst and unites us in order to send us out to proclaim God’s reign.
I remember asking a colleague once of her views of God and the possibility of an after-life, to which she said she thinks it is all possible, but she did not think it worth thinking too much about. Even though her answer took me by surprise, upon reflection it seems that we might all be guilty of this at different levels. We have many things going on in our lives, and for many of us, we can feel stretched to our limits simply managing these. Pondering the bigger questions of faith might seem a luxury of time, or perhaps even something left to the priests and religious.
Yet as lay Catholics, we too are given the mission of being witnesses to the love of God, a love present in our hearts and in our world. St Eugene stressed that “the truth must be known to all, all having an equal right to its possession.” As lay members of the De Mazenod Family, we play an integral role of taking Jesus to those outside of the reach of Sunday sermons and Church bulletins, religious classes and overseas missions. In a secular world rapidly curtailing mention of God, the laity presents Jesus at the water cooler at work when we resist joining in on a character assault of a colleague. We present Jesus at the supermarket or bus stop when we show kindness or courtesy to those around us. We bear witness to Jesus in our midst when we resist retaliation and hostility, when we speak with honesty, when we stand up for the helpless.
Not easy to do consistently. Still, in the same way we practise a skill frequently to enhance it, or we best imitate someone by spending time examining character traits, behaviour and beliefs, spending time with Jesus, reflecting on Him, on how our lives relate to His death on the Cross and what awaits us after this life, can help us better present an accurate and irresistible Jesus to those yet to know Him.
In this coming fortnight, as we enter into the second half of Lent, we might reflect on how we fulfil our mission of bearing witness. How does our experience of Jesus in our midst unite us as community? How can we find ways of unifying heart and mind, knowing that the more our intellectual ideas of faith and God permeate our hearts, the more we draw others to Jesus.