In this our Holiest Week, we bear witness to the pinnacle of the passionate mission of Jesus through
his death as well as his resurrection. His mission of love for God and humanity fueled his ministries of teaching , healing, prophetic challenging of the power structure, and attentiveness to the people on the margins. Jesus teaches me that the mission of loving God and humanity means making choices and living into them, even when they are gut-wrenchingly difficult. He teaches me that the mission of love leads to doing ministry like washing the feet of others, defending a cause, or standing peacefully and intentionally in the face of violence. Sometimes it even leads to handing over one's very life in the ultimate gift of self. It's not just suffering, however; Jesus' mission can also lead to bringing long-sought dreams to fruition and to joyful rising into new life.
Very deliberately following the call as well as the life of Jesus, we women religious know firsthand what a life of passionately loving humanity looks like - both the sorrow and the joy of it. To me, mission is the "wow" of following Jesus' call to love, springing from the experience of being passionately loved by God; ministry is the "how" of loving people well, an eager response to God's love. The "wow" impels us to move forward in hope to bring about the kingdom of God that glimmers before us in the poor and uneducated, the neglected and invisible, and the seemingly hopeless situations in which we sometimes find ourselves (or which we seek out). Something that I so appreciate about us Giving Voice women, as well as the wise women surrounding us, is our tremendous passion - passion for God, for people, for our work, for our sisters, for our charism, for the economically or educationally or spiritual poor people around us, and for our church. Even during times of struggle and discouragement, when I feel as though I'm sitting in the garden alone, one or more of you is awake and brimming over with healthy apostolic zeal - the "wow" - and that lifts and carries me. Furthermore, the "how" of ministry is the everyday, lived expression of our mission; we teach, pray with college students, feed the hungry, grow gardens, heal the sick, and advocate for the marginalized because of our passionate love for God and humanity. Even on the bad days, when we can't hear it, the song of our passion is still humming underneath the work that we do. When the "how" of our work is shrouded in mystery, the "wow" calls us forward, until the way becomes clear. When the "how" of our ministry leads us to darkness, and suffering is all around us, the "wow" of God's love for us, our care for each other, and our dauntless trust sustains us until God brings about a resurrection.
Mission and ministry are very deeply rooted in the Paschal Mystery, this life of Jesus that I so desire to reflect in my life and which I so clearly see reflected in the lives of sisters. The "wow" and the "how" in the life of Jesus fills my work and prayer this week. May Christ walk closely with each of us as we seek to live out our passionate lives of faith.