A smile. An embrace. A helping hand. An ear to listen. Every day and every person we encounter is a missionary opportunity. The essence of the Church’s “evangelizing mission” is simply to help people, not necessarily convert them. Conversion is important, but we are called first and foremost to love and to serve. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) captures this view in its new blog series.
From USCCB on Ad Gentes (Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity):
When most of us think of “missionaries,” we picture priests, sisters and brothers going to far off lands to convert others to Christ. Most of us don’t look in the mirror and see a missionary, but we should.
The council decree aimed to “rally the forces of all the faithful.” Missionaries plant “the Church among peoples or groups who do not yet believe in Christ.” Given this reality, how can the rest of us, who do not go “forth into the whole world,” be missionaries? The decree stresses the answer is simple because missionary activity always occurs through personal example and acts of love that foster charity, justice and peace.
The blog post, “The Council At 50: All Are Missionaries,” is part of a series of blog posts from USCCB about the documents produced by the Council Fathers of Vatican II. Each post will discuss one of the 16 documents from the Council.