By Rosina Hendrickson
Vibrant Faith Coaching Team
We recently celebrated Pentecost, the tipping point for the church’s mission to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” and teaching “these new disciples to obey all the commands” Jesus has given us. When we consider how to lean into this mission as individuals, it seems overwhelming and daunting. There are too many people, too many challenges, and I’m just one person.
When I feel overwhelmed by our “great commission,” I turn to the example of the saints who’ve walked this path before us. They remind us that making a difference in just one person’s life is an important step in changing the world.
- Catherine of Siena invites us to “preach the Truth as if you had a million voices. It is silence that kills the world.” These words challenge us to speak even when we are unsure if our words can make a difference. We must speak out when we see injustice happening in the world. We do that through writing letters to our governmental leaders and our newspapers. We share our experiences with our friends, family, and neighbors. We open our eyes to the world, recognize where our actions as a society contradict the Gospel message, and make our voice heard.
- Mother Teresa reminds us, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, just feed one.” Feeding the hungry can take many forms. As we emerge from the social distancing of Covid-19, invite your neighbors and friends over to share a meal. Contact your local food pantry to determine their needs and make a donation. Seek out programs and services in your community that serve the homeless and hungry and get involved by preparing or serving meals. Purchae the meal of a co-worker (or, even more bold, a stranger) when you are out to eat.
- Therese of Lisieux challenges us to “miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” This is the simplest reminder for us. By our words and actions, we are announcing the Gospel of the Lord. As we return to a life without wearing masks, make eye contact with those you meet and offer a smile. Greet them and ask about their story or share a few words of your own. Write cards or emails to those you know and offer an encouraging word or favorite Scripture passage—pray for them. Share a hug. Listen to your neighbors, co-workers, and friends to discover where they are hurting and in need. Respond with some small action that lets them know that you are there for them.
In 1 John 5: 1-6, the “disciple that Jesus loved” tells us “the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” To conquer the world, though, our faith must be embraced and lived in all aspects of our life. The words of these saints are action-seeds that Jesus turns into transformational growth.
Rosina Hendrickson is a member of Vibrant Faith’s Coaching Team, and she’s the Lifelong Faith and Lay Ministry Formation Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Iowa. She also facilitates STEP courses through the University of Notre Dame, a platform for online adult formation.