Fr. Scott Reilly speaks on Jesus’ personal identification with our individual human suffering. Podcast
A reflection from one of the Regnum Christi missionaries in SoHo, as we begin our mission today.
“Then I said, ‘Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. ‘See,’ he said, ‘now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.’
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am,’ I said; ‘Send me!'” Isaiah 6:5-8
Palm Sunday. The day our Lord embarked on the final stage of his mission, the day he said “yes” yet again to the will of his Father. The theme of our mission this year will be that fiat moment, that “yes”, epitomized so beautifully in the text above from Isaiah. “Send me.”
This week in New York, we expect a record number of missionaries– over 300– who will collectively witness the Lord’s love to perhaps a half million souls and greet individually up to 250,000. Of these, if historical odds prevail, we will find 10 to 15,000 who will admit they are Catholics or former Catholics, give a rosary or a Pope card to 5,000, and entice, cajol, drag, and ultimately love 2000 to 3000 of those into St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in SoHo for a visit, a prayer, a Holy Week service, or most hopefully the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Many of these souls will not have been to confession in 20 or more years, and over that time may have begun to believe they can no longer be loved by God. An outer shell of big city happiness often conceals an inner heart that is troubled and lonely, longing for Christ but needing someone to lead them back to Him. Of the 3000 we get back, or even larger number we plant seeds of hope in, we don’t know how many for whom this encounter with Christ will permanently change their course, putting them on the road to a heavenly eternity. It may be thousands, it may be one. We don’t know. However, even if it is just one soul, saved for eternity, won’t the entire effort have paid a heavenly dividend?
Over time, our missionaries have asked 100’s of people to join us in this mission. Many have answered the call, many have not. The ones who have not, often tell us they are not up to the task, not qualified. Like Isaiah, they are so humbled by their own “spiritual inadequacy”, that they decline. My observation on the streets is that the Lord works through us in incredible ways. None of us are qualified. But He is. “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.”
Of the half million people we will witness to, each has a different temperament, a different personality, and a different, unique “problem.” And in many cases, just one of our missionaries seems uniquely suited to love them into the Church, and somehow the Holy Spirit brings that person to that missionary. And so I wonder which soul out there is waiting to be saved by someone out there who He is calling to come to SoHo this year.
“Send me” is our theme this year. All 300+ of us will pray this prayer of Apostleship to our Lord, will answer his call without hedging, will lean hard into Him, and will head to So Ho to cooperate with Him, to work with Him to love his children back to Him. We are all in. “Here I am Lord. Send me.” Join us.
March 29, 2015
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015, SAINT PATRICK’S OLD CATHEDRAL
Here we are again. Bone chilling cold. A mere dozen of us. Lord, how can we do this? Answer: you can’t, WE can. And WE did. Some of us utterly new to the task, including four parishioners who joined us, and several Lumen men who showed up, answered the call, reported in. That’s all He needed. Despite the cold, the dark night, and the usual busy street scene, before long our nets were full to bursting, a steady progression of penitents found themselves being loved into, “joyed” into, and sometimes gently tugged and pulled into, the Ash Wednesday service with confessions to boot. All four Legionary priests were kept busy all night, many handling the now usual I’ve been away 20 year + confession. Later, one of us wrote this prayer of thanks:
“Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you for the joy of serving you and your mission of salvation for all of us. Thank you for calling me, however unworthy and imperfect an instrument I am. You could have done this yourself, but you chose me to share this experience of love with you. Thank you for the brotherhood and sisterhood in you that tonight gave all of us out there on the cold and windy streets, for the love we gave each other through you, for the love we gave and received from all the people we met. Thank you for once again responding so abundantly to our pathetic little, half-hearted “yes” with a load of fish so huge that we were nearly buried in the avalanche. Thank you for your infinite love.”
February 18, 2015
I don’t think hell is hot. I think it must be cold…very very cold.
As a deterrent to cold, there is Legionaries of Christ, Regnum Christi and Lumen! I thought it was a very fruitful day, a harbinger of spring. Holy Week is just around the corner.
Please thank the priests and missionaries for all that they do.
Monsignor Donald Sakano
Pastor at St Patrick’s Old Cathedral