Mother Mary of the Passion understood mission as “the offering/ gift of self, rather than an activity”. This thought marks the way I live my mission. For me, mission is the space that allows me to give myself, “to render to God what is God’s” (Mt 22: 21). I live this commitment to mission in two ways: Firstly, abandonment to the will of the Father, seeking in the silence of Eucharistic adoration to read each reality in its particularity through openness and listening to the voice of the Spirit, in order to be and do what God asks of me as a Franciscan Missionary of Mary; and secondly, with courage – that which enables me to overcome fears, to avoid excuses, to transform weaknesses into opportunities to say “here I am” and to respond promptly to the needs of the context to which I have been sent. This is my way of living the contemplative and missionary dynamism proper to our founding charism.
I am energised and strengthened every day by the fact that I have found meaning in serving God in my brothers and sisters, according to the FMM way of life. My life is only meaningful and worth living to the extent that I give myself to serve and to love.
It motivates me to see and experience the gratitude and joy of people who rejoice in the encounter. It comforts my soul to see that many brothers and sisters are waiting for a word, an invitation to participate in the life of the Church and to become committed lay people who make the Kingdom of God present here and now. And this, thanks to the dynamism of the Holy Spirit and the docility of so many missionaries and FMM who have said yes in order to be present in the remotest corners of our country.
Many memories and missionary experiences fill my heart with joy. I would like to share with you an experience I had in Orito, Putumayo in the Amazon. We know that the pandemic has deprived us all of the joy of encounter. To be together, to have the other person close to oneself to share life makes the heart grow. This is what I felt when I visited the villages in this commune. The villagers were eager for God, eager for the presence and witness of the missionary who reminded them that God is always present. I met people who welcomed, accompanied, shared and rejoiced, so much so that the missionary does not hesitate to make a difficult two-hour walk to meet the families, enjoy the landscape, observe the birds and wild animals, cross rivers with huge rocks and crystal-clear water, greet neighbours who do their farm work on the roadside. Arriving at the village, I had the joy of friendly conversations, of a moment of prayer with the families, and then of blessing the houses with the knowledge that God dwells there and protects the inhabitants from the dangers and insecurities of the forest.
Matilde Elina Vega Gutiérrez, fmm