…THAT THEY/WE MAY HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT TO THE FULL
MISSION PRE- AND POST- COVID-19, MISSION PRE- AND POST- CHAPTER 2022
In this Month and Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which we pray for each living member of our Society, the month in which our founder died and in which we renew our Missionary Oath and commitment to mission, it is worth reflection and sharing various sentiments, looking back and looking forward, as well as congratulate our Jubilarians:
We members of St Joseph’s Society for Foreign Missions, in the sight of the Almighty God, of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the Apostles, of St Joseph our most Holy Father and Protector, of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and of all our Patrons, firmly promise and swear that we shall consecrate ourselves for life to the work of the Missions entrusted to the Society. And we shall also render obedience to the Superior General in accordance with the constitutions of the Society.
In 2016 I sang to echo and stretch The Year Of Mercy, musing on “the year of Mercy, the door of mercy, the face of Mercy, the embrace of mercy and the missionaries of mercy”.
In 2018 I wrote recollecting sentiments of Mission Appeals here in the UK, recalling the hymn on Isaiah 52:7: How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
These were only matched by the elation in an Appeal in Banbury near Oxford on the weekend of the canonization of St John Henry Newman. Banbury and the famous poem of the cock horse was exhilarating and nostalgic as I sang again the childhood nursery and primary school poem we used to chant for hours when it rained cats and dogs on the iron sheet roof disturbed teaching:
“Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross, To see a fine lady upon a white horse; with Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes.”
In 2019 I sang The Extraordinary Month of Mission, synthesizing Pope Francis’ message and our Missio/MHM impulse: Mission to the East, Mission to the South, Mission to the North, Mission to the South… we are behind the Holy Father carry out the Mission, of Jesus Christ the Lord; it is the day of mission, this is the month of Mission, it’s always the year of mission; there are souls to rescue, there are lives to save, mission to the needy…
In 2022, I’m writing, singing, and dancing that:
I’m a missionary by praying, I’m a missionary by volunteering, I’m a missionary by offering up my sufferings, a missionary by educating, teaching and preaching – handing on the faith; I’m a missionary by Charity to the poor and the needy.
Isn’t that what we all do or try to do every day, and some do better or more?
In the coming months and years, I will continue to muse on the profound treasure of the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, in the Poor and in the Priest, as taught, lived and caught from the Mother Teresa Sisters that I sometimes reach out to. Indeed, “Blessed be Jesus in the poorest of the poor”. There, but for the grace of God, go I! That they/we may have life and have it to the full.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. (1 Corinthians 15:10). But he said to me, my grace is enough for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9). (Emmanuel Mbeh MHM June 2022).