As part of a series of talks organised by CHARIS on "What is Christian mission?", Sister Leticia (FMVD) gave an insight to our affiliates and volunteers on what it means to be a missionary whether on the mission field, at home or at the workplace.
By: Damien Teo (CHARIS Volunteer)
Photos: Gabriel Lee (CHARIS Staff)
“In the ancient world, it is most often associated with people who were devoted followers of a religious leader or teacher of philosophy,” Sister Leticia described. She cites the example of the famous Greek philosopher, Socrates, who had many students who would follow him in hopes of becoming acquainted with his teaching.
With Jesus however, His disciples were very different from the rest of society. Sister Leticia gives three reasons; firstly because Jesus is not just a great teacher, but also God Himself. Secondly, disciples traditionally chose which teacher they wanted to follow and imitate, but Jesus chooses His disciples instead. Third, unlike the master-servant relationship other disciples had, Jesus refers to His disciples as “friends”.
“Being a disciple of Jesus is an initiative of God, not an initiative of ours,” Sister Leticia expresses. In understanding Christian discipleship, there is an importance to realise there is firstly a call to relationship from the teacher, and secondly it is an unconditional call.
Citing scripture readings, Sister Leticia goes on to illustrate, “we are called missionary disciples because in the call that Jesus has made to each one of us, there is also a mission. Jesus’ call has two dimensions, to be with him and to be sent out.” This is why Christians are also referred to as missionary disciples, who are not merely called to love God, but to also love others in that process.
Concluding her input, Sister Leticia emphasises that by virtue of the unconditional love God offers to every individual, everyone who has discovered this love has also received a mission to share what they have found with others.
By: Julie Lim (CHARIS Volunteer)
In her second talk, Sister Leticia enlightened the audience with the necessary qualities and values of a true missionary disciple. She began by first defining the meaning of ‘disposition’ and proceeded to explain that the mission of the Church is to evangelize. Evangelization is in fact the grace and vocation of the Church, her deepest identity. “She exists in order to evangelize”, quoted Sister Leticia. We are part of the Church and as Disciples of Christ, our duty is to help evangelize. This means to spread the good news of Christ to all of humanity. Evangelizing can start from any place, whether at home, office or school and to anyone whom we cross paths with in our lives.
In addition, she also covered ‘Ministry of Charity’ as one of the very important three-fold responsibilities of the Church. The importance of going beyond collecting and distributing funds as acts of charity to others in need was highlighted. Evangelization, together as a missionary, is an answer to God’s call and must begin with pure intent of love of Christ in our hearts.
The session ended with a beautiful sharing amongst the participants on their mission trips experiences. The open dialogue was facilitated by Sister Leticia and many walked away with a deeper understanding on the disposition and role of a Christian Missionary.
Read more articles here: