Each year the Ursuline Sisters commit themselves to ministry, the Youngstown Ursuline’s do this around the feast of St. Angela in January of each year. The following is a reflection written about the importance of ministry as it is connected to Jesus’ teaching.
“Home,” the poet Robert Frost wrote “‘is where when you go there, they have to take you in.” As Ursulines, we would say that our home is in the “heart of God.” When we live there, we are unconditionally embraced by love and acceptance.
However, God’s home is within each of us and among us. So there is ongoing communication between our home and God’s home; our heart and God’s heart.
I have always thought of ministry as a call from the heart of God, a call to share what I have received from God’s heart. For me, ministry is always, where God is asking me to create a “home,” a space where others can recognize and continue to be attracted to God.
However, I also firmly believe that ministry, is God’s work. God is asking for my heart to be so open, so transparent, like a clear pane of glass, that God’s light can shine through me and reflect God’s love.
So how then, do I, as a minister, proclaim this “Good News of God’s Love in Canfield Ohio in 2010 ?
I also believe that in the New Testament Jesus teaches us how to minister – we are asked to watch Jesus and imitate him:
1. Jesus was first and foremost a presence to others, so I need to be with “the other” as a presence, as a companion on the journey.
2. I find when others were with Jesus, they felt “at home.” So in ministry I need to be attentive to creating community so that others can also be “at home.”
3. Jesus nourished others, he taught the importance of being fed. So I am called to provide nourishment for others, in a vast variety of ways.
4. Any reading of the gospel uncovers the generosity of Jesus, always the abundance, whether in the story of the loaves and fishes, or the wedding feast at Cana. So I too am called to reflect this sense of abundance, always the more in ministry.
5. Finally, Jesus gave his life for the people; he gave of himself in Eucharist. So I am called too, to empty myself, to give, and give some more, to go the extra mile and not count the cost.
Obviously, all of this is done in very human situations, in the simple here and now.
The poster that was created for the 400th anniversary of the Ursulines entitled “Angela: A Woman For All Times” hangs several places in the Motherhouse and is a reminder when I read the two lines of writing on it that it is always the wedding of contemplation and action – prayer and apostolic ministry that results in proclaiming the good news of God’s love in this contemporary church.
Another poet, this time an anonymous one, uses different images and metaphors to express how to proclaim the gospel. The poet writes:.
“The most visible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself.They neither paint nor sculpt- their medium is being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They are the artists of being alive.”
We Ursulines know how to make others “feel at home” we are the “artists of being alive” and we have learned all this at the feet of the master.