Posted On December 9, 2003

The Journey of the Mission

“…Last year at O’Hare airport the plane came to a stop; that is to say, the airport was completely shut down due to the snow for two days and nights. I was there. In fact, I should clarify something. Our plane was the last to land. They then announced that, not only were we stuck and that not even a single plane was taking off, but, that we couldn’t even leave the airport due to the snow. There were people going around and yelling at the hostesses: “I have to leave right now! I have to get to Cincinnati…”!
But besides the people that were yelling and intending to leave immediately, there was also one extraordinary woman. She went around to all of the mothers that were traveling with small children saying, “Let me take your little ones…I’ve always wanted to be a preschool teacher and now I will open preschool. I’ll tell them a little story, and in the mean time you can go get something to eat.” You should have seen that woman in the airport, with all those children sitting around her listening to her stories. It was the same situation, the same snowstorm. What was the difference between those that were yelling and the woman that had created a small preschool? A choice. That was the difference, an incredible, miraculous, and personal choice.
What would you have done?
Who knows how many times, during the day, you find your self in situations in which you can freely choose one attitude over another. Choose, then, to find, in the midst of an apparently unpleasant situation, something positive for yourself and others. It’s all about the  courageous choice of the person that discovers that the missionary is he whom sees his fellow men and the events of his life through the eyes of God. Only He, in fact, is capable of profoundly searching everything and to perceive, in the most immense of abysses, precious treasures. It’s about seeing beyond the appearance of things and reading the message that God has for man within the things themselves. It is not, however, always easy to “see beyond” because that which falls within our natural senses conflicts with our sense of reality. If we stop to reflect however, we discover that there is another evident reality: that which is interior. Do you remember what they said about Jesus? “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Mt 13:55). And it was true, he really was, but, there were in Him also, some things that were invisible to human eyes. The adulteress in the gospel of John, was she not an adulteress? Yes, she was. In her, however, there was also that humility that only the eyes of Jesus were able to see. The thief on the cross was also a thief, a sinner, but Jesus does not stop at outward appearances but looks at
man’s heart.
Jesus himself lived through a terrible experience: crucifixion and death. To the eyes of the person who only sees the appearance of things, Jesus appears to be a failure, a loser, to the point that some even mocked him and shook their heads saying “you who could destroy the
temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the son of God, come down from the cross!” (Mt 27:40).
We, as disciples of Jesus, want to imitate Him and learn to read reality in a new and different way. We have to learn to read the signs that God sends us in every moment that teach us to “go beyond”. We will probably be laughed at like Jesus: they will think we are crazy or foolish when, in the midst of a disagreeable event, we remain serene and help others to be so as well. Many times we will hear our friends of acquaintances say: “…but isn’t that the daughter of…then why does she always talk about Jesus? When did she become a preacher? How does she not despair when confronted with this event? She’s a fool; she’s a fanatic, a pedant,” and on and on. The mission is therefore a risk. It is a risk of “losing face” in front of others, and to be considered one of the “others”.
The mission is being ready to put yourself out there without worrying. The mission is to be another Christ for mankind! From today onward, try to “look beyond” asking yourself at every event: “What good is there in this situation? How can I exploit this situation positively? What is Christ telling me here? How can I help others not to get discouraged? I remember some years ago it happened that I had to go to a mission in Sicily. We were in a train crammed into a sleeper car, in heat that was asphyxiating. There was no breeze or movement of air and the train had just barely gotten on the ferry. From our windows we could only see the inside of the ship inches away, as if we were completely surrounded by a wall. It was night but it was impossible to sleep. Drenched in sweat, I decided to go out into the corridor of the train: “There,” I thought “I’ll find a bit of air”. But alas! Even there the only thing that you could see from the windows was wall! At a certain point, one of us sat up on her bunk and sleepily exclaimed, “How wonderful, I’ve always dreamed of traveling in a sleeper train, and now the Lord has granted it to me!” “What?” I thought irritated, “Here we are dying of heat, and she considers herself blessed”?
Today, after a few years, I realize that in every moment the Lord is giving us gifts: we just have to know how to collect on them. This is not naiveté, but rather, a Wisdom, that which tells us that, at every instant, God is near us, even, in a bunker car that is boiling from the heat.

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