Our mission is what gives us purpose, a direction. It is what orients all our energies and desires. The mission of love is the only mission that can truly light the path to a life of genuine fulfillment and joy. From the beginning, love has been Pope Francis’ mission, and he invites you and me to make it ours.
In his homily at the canonization Mass of St. Junipero Serra he revealed to us: “Mission is always the fruit of a life, which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing.” We can only love as much as we have been loved and forgive as much as we have been forgiven.
Love does not find its source or end in us, as if we could offer anything on our own, but rather it is the Father who fills us with his love in Christ and through the Spirit, inviting us to share in his mission of being poured out for the good of all. The way love is made manifest has always been through witness. The Father made his love manifest by sending his Son into the world, not to condemn it, but to witness to what life and love could look like when it’s fully lived. Today, the Father continues to choose to make his love known to the world through Jesus’ mystical body, the Church. You and I who are baptized into this body and are called to witness to the Father’s love for us, made manifest in word and deed. It is this witness alone that has the power to show the world around us that God is who he says he is, our Father and theirs.
Do something today that will move you forward step-by-step. Go to Mass, read a book, meet with a friend or take a walk. Perhaps it’s a “yes” to something or maybe it’s a “no”. Keep on choosing life-giving thoughts and keep persisting in prayer, holding on to the voice of Christ. His is the storyline that is hopeful and triumphant even if you don’t have the next chapter figured out. The story of our lives is a good story. It is one we should read with joy and gladness. Each of our individual stories are a reflection of the greater story of redemption found in Scripture and through Christ, we’ve been woven into that story. This grand story is of a person made in the image of their Creator. Upon making them, God remarked, “It is very good.” It’s the story of a Rescuer who made a way to bring them back and restore them to their Father. It’s the story of love and loss, sin and redemption, brokenness and healing.
Each person has a unique path to sainthood. There is no mold. There is no yellow-brick road to follow. There is only you and God’s distinct plan for your life. The only prerequisite you must meet is love for the Lord. Aside from that, you may go where you please, as long as you take Him with you on the journey. He wants you to be a saint, but He also wants you to be you.
I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your love, your support, and your prayers as I’m closing this chapter with unparalleled love. It means so much to me, more than you can imagine! I’m humbled and grateful for this opportunity of sharing with you all. This is not goodbye. It’s just the beginning of a new chapter, so I’ll see you around!
It brings to mind a quote from St. Juniper whose motto was “Siempre adelante!” – meaning (move) forward always!