In our final thought on using words to further our Missionary objectives, we make an important distinction: THIS IS NOT A RESCUE MISSION.
Our Mission is to understand, recognize, address and prevent spiritual starvation. Nowhere do we use the term "rescue," nor any words related to rescue.
To rescue means to deliver from harm into safety, or to carry from captivity into freedom. The victim does not have the ability to get to safety or freedom without help. Furthermore, the rescuer acts on behalf of the rescuee, making the choices and dictating the turn of events. There is a necessary dependency: the one being delivered must depend on the one delivering.
No hypothetical hero would spend much time understanding, recognizing, addressing or preventing anything. Our hero would begin taking action by the time we finish reading that last sentence.
Our Missionary principles do not work in rescue situations. To illustrate this absurdly, we felt it best to go with something not too dangerous, so we are imagining a car with a flat tire on the side of a busy road.
Ah - but here is the key distinction. A rescue is a one-and-done operation, a definitive eradication of need, not something ongoing. Our Mission cultivates need – that is, the kind of need that is everyday need, not crisis level need. For us, need is the point of everyday connection. Shunning everyday human need keeps walls up, doors closed and imperfections hidden in shame unnecessarily. Our needs are our lifelines. If rescuers take away everyday human need, people are at risk to be left alone and isolated.
Crisis need = lives at stake = relieve the burden = rescue mission.
Everyday human need = ordinary living; being human is not a burden =
Mission of Saint Thorlak.
We conclude by revisiting mercy – because, our Mission may not be a rescue mission, but it is a mission of merciful love.
Mercy is a gift freely offered to be taken or left without obligation or expectation. Mercy is a show of generosity for the sake of generosity. Mercy imposes no terms or conditions. It is the most extreme form of indulgence.
Mercy offers to stay with people during their times of crisis, and also during their prolonged periods of ordinary time. Always offering. Never demanding.
Our last word on words:
Missionaries of Saint Thorlak are called to use words to teach people to see how God sees us.
God did send someone, in His Merciful Love, to rescue fallen humanity – and that was his Son, Jesus Christ. That was done once, for all of humanity, for all time.
None of us can teach others how God loves us like Jesus did. That was humanity’s rescue mission.
But, we can reflect how God loves us, every day, through the words we use.
That is our mission.
Pray: Heavenly Father, let every word we speak come from our human need for love, rather than our ambitions to rescue others from their need.
Contemplate: Ponder this week’s prayer… slowly, deeply. What does it evoke? What does it stir? What does it reveal?
Relate: Practice the habit of relating to others according to this week’s prayer. Let every word we speak come from our human need for love, rather than our ambition to rescue others from their need!
May the power of Divine Love shine in and through my weakness, so that He might be glorified in and through me, and that in my weakness, His power may reach perfection. Through Christ Our Lord, AMEN.
Fr. Mark P. Nolette - Spiritual Director for the Mission of Saint Thorlak