On this Ascension Sunday, we remember the moment in which Christ returned to the right hand of God the Father. On that day, His disciples were reminded of the mission He had called them to carry out. Of course, this is the same mission we are called to:
Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
Or, for something a bit more concrete, St. Luke’s account from the Acts of the Apostles:
…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Our trust in the Holy Spirit is crucial for carrying out our own mission of bringing the Gospel to the others. This work is not ours, but God’s own work done through us, so why would we rely only on our own strength? We also rely on the strength of others around us, as we are members of Christ’s Body, the Church. With Christ as our Head, there is nothing we cannot accomplish, because we naturally recognize, therefore, that we are simply playing our part in Christ’s work.
The primary key to understanding our own role in God’s work is to see the place we must hold. We cannot expect anything more or less of ourselves than what God has given us to accomplish. Each of our lives are meant to preach the Gospel, and this will take many forms. Sometimes this is something we figure out, sometimes God places us just where we need to be. Some examples:
St. Damien went to minister to lepers in Hawaii because his brother got sick. St. Dominic wound up preaching in France because a Danish princess died. St. Dorothy was martyred, and the miracle which accompanied her death converted St. Theophilus, whose writings converted thousands of people in the second century. It is indeed true that “God writes straight with crooked lines.” (St. Teresa of Avila).
So what is left for us? When Christ entrusted the Church to us, He must have expected us to do something. But if we see ourselves as placeholders, and simply go where God leads us, what are we to do? Our role is to be instruments of God’s Grace. God wishes to work in us, so that others may see God through us.
Christ left the Church to us, each blessed in different ways. Thus, we may be called upon to preach the Gospel in many different ways. When those moments come, let us pray that we have St. Dominic’s steadfast Faith, St. Damien’s abundant Love, and St. Dorothy’s joy-filled Hope in eternal life.