JAN 8, 2022
Deacon Deyvid Vargas, msp (Colombian)
Those who know us will surely be very familiar with Father Giovanni’s book about the life of the Missionary Servants of the Poor entitled On Mission with God in the Andes. What is possibly unknown by many is a letter of Father Giovanni’s from 2012 in which he tells of the difficulties of the mission and of the beginnings of the Movement. In this letter Father Giovanni expresses the desire that he would have liked his book to be titled On Mission Alone with God in the Andes.
I think this letter of Father Giovanni’s is very illuminating. The primary reason he wanted to title his book On Mission Alone with God in the Andes was to tell us about the loneliness which enveloped him in founding the Movement. Many people who supported him later abandoned him and wanted him to abandon the Imitation of Christ as the rule of life for the Missionary Servants of the Poor. In order to defend the charism of the Movement he remained alone in the hands of God. It seems to me that the title On Mission Alone with God in the Andes is a complete life plan and a synthesis of what should be our missionary work among the poor.
A real missionary is an envoy and every envoy tacitly includes He Who sends us and without Whom no one can be sent. And we, by whom are we sent? We are sent by the one Who said, “It is not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (John 15:16).
Without God, the mission makes no sense. Without God, our mission is no longer a mission but simply social work, a work like any NGO where you give a little of your time but don’t give your whole life. In in the Church, even religious, priests, nuns, or committed laypeople could be doing mission without God. How is this possible? It happens more frequently than we think.
This can happen when we value work above being, action above prayer, when we become involved in activism in which we try to shine, dimming the freshness and beauty of the living Gospel Who is Jesus Christ.
Only Christ can satisfy the hunger of the poor. Only Christ can reveal the true dignity of the poor. Only Christ can heal the wounded hearts of all poor children. Though in His profound humility, Christ wants to use us.
To sum up, either there is a “Mission with God Alone in the Andes” or there is no mission at all. When I arrived in Peru, I fell in love with the charism of the Missionary Servants of the Poor because they place Jesus in the Eucharist as the center of the mission. That is because, truly, He is the real Evangelizer. He is the Lord of hearts. We can preach beautiful sermons, carry out beautiful apostolates, have great ideas, but without Christ it is only noise. “If I have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal” (1Cor 13:1). Perhaps we could bring a little joy to those who suffer, but we will not transform their lives, something that we can only do if we have constant contact with the supernatural, if we love to spend time with Jesus.
I am 29 years old and was ordained a deacon not long ago. I would like to invite young people to give their whole lives to the service of the Gospel because it is worth everything. Today more than ever we young people are thirsty for the Definitive, the Absolute, for what is Eternal. So, let’s put aside Tik-Tok and set out on this adventure with God alone, with our Lord alone and our mother the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I extend this invitation to all the monasteries that support us, to all the cloistered monks and nuns who perhaps have little or big problems and doubts about their vocations. The time has come to grow in our contemplative life. The more contemplatives there are the more mission and holy priests and religious there will be. The more prayer, the more beauty in the world.
I thank everyone for your prayers and ask you not to stop praying for the missionaries “on the ground” giving our lives for our brothers.
God bless you