Someday I’ll Be a Missionary

IMG_2032By Marie Foley

“Miss Marie, I was telling my friend on my baseball team about Purgatory like we learned last week in CCD and he told me I was making it all up. Can you help me answer his questions?”

Elijah, one of my 3rd grade CCD kiddos, ran up to me yesterday at the beginning of class and was so excited to start answering his friend’s questions about the Catholic faith. With an hour and fifteen minutes of catechism a week, this nine year old was spreading the faith. The same boy who five minutes later asked me how to spell the word “Catholic” and then proceeded to trip on his shoelace and spill his juice box on a clean carpet was an authentic missionary.

I want to have a heart for mission like him.

Someday, I want to travel the world. Someday, I want to be a missionary. I want to convert souls. I want to go to extremes. I want to take bucket showers and drink coconut water. I want serve the homeless. I want to love the unloved. One day, I want to serve in a visible way. Eventually, I want to be like my sister and some of my best friends who have answered their vocations to the missions. I want to be radical… Someday.

But why can’t someday be today? Why am I waiting? Why do we wait until we have graduated? Why do we wait until mission work looks “fun and adventurous”? Why do we wait until we “know enough”? Why do we postpone God’s plan? I’ve been so focused on my desire to serve in crazy and radical ways… that I have forgotten to simply serve the people I see every day. The people who surround me on campus daily have a physical home, will eat dinner tonight, and wear designer jeans, but their hearts might be homeless. The people who surround me might look the part, but are spiritually wounded. Who am I to say that my classmates don’t deserve authentic joy, genuine friendship, and honest truth… everything that a “missionary” can offer?

I want to be a missionary. And I choose to start now.

Someday I hope that God calls me to foreign lands or a liberal campus or a radical vocation of loving the homeless. But today He is calling me to loving those who sit next to me in the lecture hall. To love those who wait with me at the bus stop. To love my roommates and my best friends. To love the rowdy 3rd graders who run into my classroom. To love those who walk into the Newman Center searching for a true home.

And that… that is just as radical.

“Anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.” – Pope Francis

Marie Foley is currently a student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, pursuing a degree in secondary education for mathematics. She enjoys running marathons, drinking coffee and driving minivans.

Am I the Older Brother?

[wr_heading el_title=”heading” tag=”h1″ text_align=”inherit” heading_margin_top=”5″ heading_margin_bottom=”5″ font=”inherit” enable_underline=”yes” border_bottom_style=”solid” appearing_animation=”0″ disabled_el=”no” ]Am I the Older Brother?[/wr_heading][wr_heading el_title=”Heading 2″ tag=”h2″ text_align=”inherit” heading_margin_top=”5″ heading_margin_bottom=”25″ font=”inherit” enable_underline=”yes” border_bottom_style=”solid” appearing_animation=”0″ disabled_el=”no” ]A Reflection on the Parable of the Prodigal Son[/wr_heading]

RM8_9651By Makena Clawson

When we consider the parable of the Prodigal Son, we often ponder just that: the Prodigal Son. But what about the two other characters, the good Father and the older brother?

I am the older brother. Not having had a radical conversion, I identify with the older brother who stayed on his Father’s land his whole life, but maybe never appreciated it. The older brother is bitter and angry when the younger son returns after his life of debauchery away from the Father’s house. How come he is welcomed back so quickly? I’ve put in so much effort and received no reward!

The older brother wanted to leave the house many times, but didn’t. We may not have physically left the Father’s house, but what about in our hearts? I left through pride, bitterness, and grumbling about the benefits I’d have if I did leave. And now the younger son who has done what I always wanted to do, returns. How could I welcome him back? He, who got a taste of the outside world and returned without consequences?

As a Christ in the City missionary, I work with the homeless everyday. I go out to the street to meet and talk with people who are normally ignored. I meet people who are broken, ashamed, and want so badly to return to the Father’s house. They have left and now “feel the pinch” as the Gospel says. How do I welcome them back? Am I the older brother who refuses to welcome them? Have I realized the gift that it is to be in the Father’s house?

Dear Lord, You call all of us back to Your house. I have strayed in big ways and in small ways. Please welcome me back. I know Your mercy is bigger than my pride. Help me to not be afraid to run back to you every time I stray.

Lord, help me to welcome back those who have left your house. Help me to not hold any bitterness against them or You. Please give me a humble heart to realize I have left You many times, too. Please forgive me. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Makena Clawson is a first-year missionary and recent graduate of Benedictine College. She wishes the whole world loved Jesus, speaking in Spanish, and Nancy Drew as much as she does.

Why Do You Call Me Good?

[wr_heading el_title=”heading” tag=”h1″ text_align=”inherit” heading_margin_top=”5″ heading_margin_bottom=”25″ font=”inherit” enable_underline=”yes” border_bottom_style=”solid” appearing_animation=”0″ disabled_el=”no” ]Why Do You Call Me Good?[/wr_heading]
Screen shot 2016-01-14 at 10.50.48 AMBy Marie Dukart

Are we good? A common phrase I hear out on the streets is “I’m a good person,” or “I don’t hurt anyone by my choices.” What kills me is that’s my inner monologue as well.

It doesn’t help that people come up to me and other missionaries and tell us: “You are doing such good work.” “I could never do what you guys do.” And even, “thank you for your sacrifice.” And in a way those people are right. Serving the poor is good work. Most people won’t be a Christ in the City missionary and “give up” a year (or two) of their lives.

But the question I keep coming back to: does this work make me good? No. God created me good, but how do I cooperate with his goodness?

Frankly, I became a missionary with mixed motives, and when I came I thought I was a decent Catholic/Christian. But, boy, was I wrong. “Doing” good things doesn’t make anyone good. As Scripture says, “ Man sees the appearance and God sees the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)

My heart was and is proud and selfish, and I do things because I want to look good, not because I actually want to be good. Being good means letting go of your own ideas about life, letting God take the reins, and asking Him to show me how self-centered my intentions are.

Just this past week I was running alone on Cherry Creek trail and I saw a man lying unconscious alongside the running path. He appeared to be homeless and I don’t ever interact with people when I’m running by myself. I ran right past him; then I stopped. I can’t explain the interior conflict in my heart and mind. Fear and self-preservation vs. an overwhelming sense that I had to help: the good Samaritan story happening in my own life.

I struggled to stay calm as he was turning blue, his eyes half-open, and his gasping breath freaking me out that he was going to die right then and there. It wasn’t because I was a good person that I called the ambulance and stayed by him until the paramedics came. No, I stayed because the Holy Spirit compelled me to take a risk and, perhaps, save a life.

“Why do you call me good?” You call Christ in the City missionaries good because every once while in a while we let the Holy Spirit take the reins.

Marie Dukart is a second-year missionary and an alumnus of the University of Mary in North Dakota. She’s passionate about Beauty, Truth and Goodness and naps..