Cover of Chapter Document.The 2003 General Chapter of the Faithful Companions of Jesus encourages an ever stronger sense of mission.

The Chapter Mandate reminds each faithful companion that

This is what our God,
         ‘gazing in compassion on our world’
                 asks of us, NOW, only this ...

to be captivated by Jesus and his mission.

 

Open door showing 'great gatherings of people' beyond.

The General Chapter of 2008 deepened our sense of Mission ...

... reminding us that : ‘Beyond the open door our attention is drawn to great gatherings of people, many of them impoverished, trafficked, marginalized, despairing or far from their own country.

With them, we cry out for justice. We are aware too of so many, especially young adults, asking questions about faith and the meaning of their lives and looking for companions to walk with them.

Held in their gaze and sensing the gaze of God upon us,

we desire to be the gentle human face of God among them."

 

What does "mission" mean, and specifically,
            what does it mean for a Companion in Mission?

'Mission’ comes from the Latin word meaning 'to send'. It implies that the person sent goes in service of others. The meaning of ‘mission’ is not limited to the purely geographic sense of going to a foreign country. Mission has no borders, no particular geographic location, but is among us and around us wherever we are. 

Symbol of Baptism.Our Baptism invites us to be missionary in the way we live each day. God sends us to be people who make daily efforts to announce the Good News of Jesus and to allow the Reign of God to be more visible in our world. St Ignatius. of Loyola understood that he himself and those who would be inspired by his vision should see themselves as sent with Christ to labour in God’s world for God’s glory and for the spiritual or material good of all men and women.

“God is the subject of mission”, Fr. Anthony Gittins, a Spiritan priest, writes. “We don’t take the initiative; we respond to God’s action. God’s mission is brought down to us in the coming of Jesus, who made it visible and understandable by sharing himself with us.”

Hand holding wheat.“Jesus’ job was evangelizing - not just by proclamation, but by sharing himself. He looked for trouble and did something about it. The center of his mission was at the margins, among the poor, the weak, the oppressed.”

Fr Gittins continues, “Jesus asks us to do as he did . . . to break through the boundaries of comfort, privilege and security, and share ourselves with the needy.”

World.“In a changing world these things remain constant: God's call, the human need for solidarity, and generous people who find life's meaning in having their own lives turned inside out so that hope is kept alive and the human spirit is not quenched.”

What we do to bring about the kingdom of truth and justice in the world is our ministry and we live this out in our ordinary daily life of love and service. We cannot really separate mission and ministry. But if we take a closer look at how Jesus revealed God’s love, at what he was sent to do, we see there are four aspects to it: proclamation, witness, dialogue and liberation

Face of Christ.

 

... Proclamation

In the Encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI wrote, “There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom, and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed.” This is not to be confused with proselytising. Proclamation gently yet firmly announces the message while showing the greatest respect for others' thoughts, beliefs and freedom. 

 

People in Ministry.

 

... Witness

There has to be a certain fit between what a person says and does. In other words we need to witness to the Good News of Jesus in all we do and say.


 

... Dialogue

Jesus gave us the example of dialogue with others of different faith. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in other religions. In his apostolic letter on the approach of the third millennium, Pope John Paul II encouraged the church to repent of intolerance and violence and to dialogue with people of other faiths and of no faith.

Symbols of interfaith dialogue.

Cross of Liberation from El Salvador.

 

... Liberation

Jesus defined his call as “to bring Good News to the poor, liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favour” (Luke 4:18-19).

 

For some, the expression of the way they live will give more emphasis to one of these elements than another. In various times and places and depending on circumstance, their particular ministry will show a different aspect of the face of our loving God, 'the gentle, human face of Christ'.

 

Pathway, a 'way of life'.While the actual process involved in the preparation to become a Companion in Mission can be called a programme, what follows from it is really a way of life.

To be a Companion in Mission is sometimes confused with being engaged  with the FCJ sisters in their ministries.  It is important to realize that ministry is the way we put mission into practice, whether FCJ sister or Companion in Mission. Each Companion in Mission has her or his own apostolic outreach: it is here in our specific apostolic activity that being sent or being on mission is expressed in a particular way.

On those occasions when a Companion in Mission is able to minister alongside the FCJ sisters it is a joy, a blessing and a mutual support.