Disturb us God, to dare more boldly,
to venture on wider seas,
Where storms will show your mastery:
Where losing sight of land
we shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back the horizons
of our hopes and to push us into the
future in strength, courage, hope and love.
This prayer was used at the end of the 15 pastoral area meetings Cardinal Tom Williams and I attended early in 2004. I was really impressed that at every meeting or within a few days after, several people asked for a copy. I found it heartening to know that the sentiments in this prayer touched so many people who wanted God ‘to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope and love’.
Recently at two archdiocesan post-synod meetings I used another reflection; the reaction was the same.
Go, you are sent: to live your life gratefully, to give God thanks always.
Go, you are sent: to do your job well.
Go, you are sent: to enjoy this life’s pleasures and promises.
Yes, and even more.
Go, you are sent: to heal the earth of polluted waters and poisoned skies.
Go, you are sent: to resist the purchase of military armaments with money that could buy milk or books for children.
Go, you are sent: to nurture and protect life, from conception to natural death.
Go, you are sent: to make sure that the sick have adequate health care, regardless of their ability to pay.
Go, you are sent: to welcome the immigrant, to embrace the foreigner.
Go, you are sent: to forgive the one who has wronged you and to seek
forgiveness from those you have wronged.
Go, you are sent: to love, and to love some more.
Go, you are sent. You are sent. You are sent.
Thanks be to God.
I have used this reflection many times in the last few years and every time the reaction has been the same, people have asked for a copy. It is worth reflecting on and praying with.
At the end of every Mass we are sent into the world with a mission. In the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis which came out of the Synod on the Eucharist Pope Benedict wrote:
I would like to comment briefly on the dismissal at the end of the Eucharistic celebration. After the blessing, the deacon or the priest dismisses the people with the words: Ite, missa est. These words help us to grasp the relationship between the Mass just celebrated and the mission of Christians in the world. In antiquity, missa simply meant “dismissal”. However, in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word “dismissal” has come to imply a “mission”. These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church. The People of God might be helped to understand more clearly this essential dimension of the Church’s life, taking the dismissal as a starting-point.
Sacramentum Caritatis (51).
Maybe this is why the reflection ‘Go, you are sent’ speaks so clearly to people. We know that we are sent, we know that we have a mission; we know that we do not just go to Mass and then leave again as though it had no connection to our daily lives.
The above words are offered to you, as they were offered at the end of our recent meetings, because they seemed to have such an impact on those who were present.
They are offered because they give us some practical examples of what we are sent to do. It may also be easy once we have prayed with these words to add our own words, to think of what else we are sent to do in our families and in the society we live in. These words are offered because they may help us, in the words of the Holy Father, ‘to grasp the relationship between the Mass just celebrated and the mission of Christians in the world’.
John A Dew