Cardinal Tagle: An encounter with the Lord is always missionary.
By Christopher Wells
World Mission Day 2021, with the theme “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard”, will be celebrated throughout the Church this Sunday, October 24th.
Ahead of World Mission Day this Sunday, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle – the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples – says the zeal that inspired the Apostles came from the experience of the power of God’s love in Jesus.
“They experienced the friendship of Jesus, they heard His Beatitudes, they saw how the poor received the good news, they saw how Jesus touched the sick.”
Speaking at a press conference in the Vatican, Cardinal Tagle said that a “gripping… deep experience” of Jesus leads to a “state of mission” that is at the same time a reflection of gratitude. Missionaries, he said, bear the “gospel of compassion and hope” fuelled by gratitude.
Cardinal Tagle, recalling the teaching of Pope Francis in his message for the day, explained that the experience of Jesus means that we cannot “keep the Lord to ourselves.” Our experience, instead, “is given to us as a gift to be shared with others.
Our own faith grows deeper when it is shared, the Cardinal said, and becomes weak when we keep it to ourselves. We can see this in the witness of the many missionaries who were inspired by their experience of the Lord to go forth, precisely out of gratitude for the gift they have received.
“So we are reminded this Sunday, this World Mission Sunday, that spirituality, an encounter with the Lord, is always missionary,” Cardinal Tagle said. “And mission is always also spiritually grounded, in an experience that moves us out of ourselves to share Jesus with all the nations.”
Cardinal Tagle concluded his presentation with a quotation from Pope Francis’ message, in which the Holy Father describes the missionary vocation as a love story: “Jesus needs hearts capable of experiencing vocation as a true love story that urges them to go forth to the peripheries of our world as messengers and agents of compassion.”