Monday, February 16, 2009

Ministry happens! It's my life!

I am often asked what it is that I DO as someone often described as a missionary. I consider myself a regular catholic who lives a missionary life-style. When I gave Christ my life in 2002 I meant it. I wanted to dedicate my life to ministry. To no longer live my life for myself, but for Christ, totally, to give up everything I had. I moved out of a .5 million dollar loft apartment, gave most of my clothes away and kissed my parents money goodbye, and so I began a life as "a missionary"trusting that God would handle everything, down to the last penny and detail, but not in Africa or far off land. Anywhere!, especially in places similar to where I had experience in. Major cities in the US, around normal everyday society. I have a cell phone, a laptop and now even a website. I did not take on a monks robe and vow to never smile or something like that. No...but I did think about it, and it is an awesome life call to be a monk or religious. It's not as cool to vow to never smile, and I never met anyone who did, so forget I mentioned it. Back to my story. So I gave my life to Christ and since 2002 I have driven cross country, flown over seas back and forth 6 times (at least) traveled to over 3 continents and 20 countries and over 75 cities... all for the sake of ministry. So, I am often asked, what my "ministry is"? Well I do a lot. I speak at conferences, high schools, do radio and television interviews, am writing a book, help take youth on pilgrimage to World Youth Day ( produce catholic promo and faith videos, and consult catholic apostolates on youth evangelization and marketing and...and.... and... the list goes on. BUT... a friend from L.A. sent this to me years ago when I lived in L.A. I just came across this old email and wanted to share it: it expresses my sentiments on what my ministry is:
HENRI NOUWEN'S THOUGHTS ON COMMUNITY: "One of the things I like to say is that if you are living in community with people, you cannot do other than minister. Ministry is not something you do next. I have a terribly hard time with ministry as something that consists of techniques you have to apply. Ministry is the overflow of your love for God and for your fellow human beings. Some one said to me, 'Ministry is when two people toast their glasses of wine and something splashes over.' Ministry is the extra. The question is not, 'How do I bring all of these people to Jesus, or how do I make these people believe, or how do I now do the hard work of ministry?'"
"Ministry happens. Jesus spoke what his heart was full of. And any body that touched him was healed. You cannot but minister if you are in communion with God and in communion with other people. People want to know where your energy comes from. They get the overflow. It's not something that requires professional credentials. Ministry isn't something you do for certain hours during the day and then you come home and relax. Who knows? Ministry might happen while you are relaxing." ( From the transcript of "Parting Words: A Conversation on Prayer with Henri Nouwen," interview by Rebecca Laird in Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Prayer, No. 6; December , 1996)
So there you have it. BE IN COMMUNION with GOD above all else...and then hang out with other people... and if you have allowed God to fill your heart thru Jesus Christ and everything he gave us; the Church, the Pope, the Sacraments, the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Mother, the Mass, the Eucharist and Saints...and...and...and the list goes on... if you allow all that to FILL YOUR HEART...then you will always MINISTER. IT HAPPENS! JUST DO IT! Just
Go OUT into the WHOLE WORLD and be Salt of the Earth and a Light in the Darkness!