I am positive I am not the only one who has sat up and paid attention to the new leader of our church, Pope Francis. I marvel with the rest of the world, as Pope Francis cannot help but go towards the people by washing the feet of young people in a juvenile detention center and embracing a disabled boy, just to name a few examples. This drive to go out and be the Gospel message not only comes from Pope Francis' ministry as our church leader but also from who he is as a child of God as he strives to follow Jesus.
Reflecting on Pope Francis' ministry and the examples he has set so far brings to mind my own community's mission statement. The mission statement of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, of which I am a novice, reads:
Rooted in the Gospel,
we are sisters to all serving
justice, and compassion.
This statement is not about what sort of ministry I would like to go into or what type of career I would like to begin, but rather it speaks to me of a certain way of being, of the type of person I am being called to be. Being rooted in the Gospel means following in Jesus' footprints. It means trying to love as Jesus loved, serving as Jesus served. The words "sister to all" reflect a relationship rather than a status. This relationship is not exclusive to a certain population of people or to only one type of work; rather, it embraces, as it is inclusive. As brothers and sisters, we are helping each other to bring God's love into the world. As we serve with reverence, justice, and compassion we are following Jesus' command to "love one another." In order to carry out this mission, I myself must first be a person rooted in the Gospel with a heart full of love, reverence, justice, and compassion.
My work in whatever ministry I become involved in comes out of where I am rooted and who I am in God. If in my own person I follow Jesus' footprints, if I am reverent, just, and compassionate then wherever I go, whatever need I am called to fulfill, I will do so as a sister to those I meet. I am ready for any ministry because my heart has been prepared and my relationship with God is strong. I am ready because before I even meet those to whom I will minister, I know they are worthy of my love, respect, just treatment, and compassion. I am ready to follow Jesus' footprints and the example of our new Pope as a child of God.