Joys and Sorrows in the Mission

Mission is a complex matter. Once a person decides to join it, he feels joy. He starts imagining the places and countries where he will go to convey the message of the Gospel, a message of Resurrection and joy. He imagines the people he will go to in order to preach, their habits, and many other things he has heard and read about. Equipped with the blessing of the Metropolis where he will go to sow the seed of the Gospel, he finds himself wherever God calls him to be.

Suddenly the whole scenery in a missionary’s life changes: other places, another language, other climate conditions, other people. With the two wings of faith and love he slowly begins to fly. The first catechumens fill with joy not only his own soul but also the souls of his partners and associates. This joy is fulfilled with the acquisition of the first Orthodox priest and the first Sacred Church, which can be a hut made from wood and grass. But the Holy Cross, the symbol of Christian faith and hope, has been set up and everything around is sanctified. It is impossible to describe the joys coming from the first baptisms in the lakes and rivers and the first Christian weddings with crowns made of flowers and twigs. And the Mission work is moving forward…

Joys come along with sorrows. Being very poor, the indigenous people expect Mother Church to provide for everything. They are not accustomed to meeting their needs and solving the problems that occur on their own. These people are forbearing and always smiling. They cannot understand or appreciate the value of offering, nor can they express any form of gratitude for whatever is offered to them. This is something which is particularly tiring for the missionaries who are close to them and all the others who help behind the lines in every possible way and at great sacrifice. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Nonetheless, missionaries are patient and pray for their children, that is, the newly-illumined Orthodox, the Churches, the Monasteries, and whatever sacred institutes God has permitted to be made, since these must continue to exist in order to advance the work of the Church with the blessing and grace of God.

When about forty people are heard in church chanting and singing with one heart and one voice the hymn “We have seen the true light, we have received the heavenly Spirit…”, deep emotion fills his soul and he clearly sees that no effort has been lost. It is with the same feelings that his heart overflows when he sees the native priest filled with sacred emotion and with tears of devout reverence interrupt the Divine Liturgy and work miracles healing sick and possessed people by the grace of the Holy Cross. Then the missionary, along with the assembly of the newly-illumined Orthodox brothers, sings «Blessed be the Name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore», thanksgiving and praising the Savior of mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is above all and His grace regulates everything.

From the Holy Metropolis

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