what is mission? ‘the mission of a community is to give life to others,… to transmit new hope and new meaning to them,… [to reveal] their fundamental beauty, value and importance in the universe, their capacity to love, to grow, and to do beautiful things,…[to transmit] a new inner freedom…; it is unlocking the doors of their being so that new energies can flow; it is taking away from their shoulders the terrible yoke of fear and guilt…. [for] they are loved just as they are by god,… good and bad, light and darkness….’
vanier notes there is a sense of urgency that comes from ‘an awareness of the pain and evil in the world, but also of the depth, breadth and universality of the good news.’ ‘communities continue the work of jesus. they are sent to be a presence to people who are living in darkness n despair.’
vanier writes that love ‘is a power that brings people greater inner freedom and growth.’ he warns, however, that this is scary and painful, for it means being open and vulnerable, and it invites ‘pain, anguish and sometimes agony. [poor people] are so fearful of not being lovable; they have suffered so much from oppression and rejection.’ and compassion can ‘awaken fears and inner pain in those who hear their cry. that is why it is so hard and so frightening to meet people who are inwardly broken.’ or would you feel safer on a 100,000-ton ship surrounded by guns and warplanes?
mission, then, is not arrogant. it comes from ‘poverty and an inner wound, but also from trust in the love of god.’ however, vanier observes that ‘as long as there are fears and prejudices in the human heart, there will be war and bitter injustice. it is only when hearts are healed, and become loving and open, that the great political problems will be solved. community is a place where people can live truly as human beings, where they can be healed and strengthened…. as fears and prejudices diminish, and trust in god and others grows, the community can radiate and witness to a style and quality of life which will bring a solution to the troubles of our world.
- the response to war is to live like brothers and sisters
- the response to injustice is to share
- the response to despair is limitless trust and hope
- the response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness
- to work for community is to work for humanity
- to work for peace in community, through acceptance of other as they are, and through constant forgiveness, is to work for peace in the world and for true political solutions
- it is to work for the kingdom of god
- it is to work to enable everyone to live and taste the secret joys of the human person united to the eternal.’
mission involves struggle of good v evil, love v hate, within each person and between people–people have to be prepared; to be counter-culture; to be infiltrated; to be made to look silly; to be persecuted. mission requires reflection and supplication through prayer; the return from the very source is healing, sustaining water.