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Each year on December 3 the Church celebrates the feast of St. Francis Xavier, a great Jesuit missionary who traveled the world to teach others about Jesus.
It is also the day that the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (then the Apostleship of Prayer) was born. On December 3, 1844 Father Gautrelet, SJ, held a meeting with his students to express dissatisfaction with an attitude he thought was harmful. In their eyes sailing off to a faraway country to preach the Gospel was far superior to studying theology.
He proceeded to teach how they could be a missionary through their everyday lives. He said, “Be missionaries already through your prayer, by the offering of your daily life. Your mission is here and now, in your studies and the little things of every day. In fulfilling it through being open to the will of God, you are already apostles who are helping the entire Church.”
Gautrelet’s students were enflamed with zeal for this new mission. It gave them a renewed pas-sion for life and helped place their theological studies in a greater context.
This should remind us how every day we can make ourselves inwardly ready for Christ’s mis-sion, through an inner attitude of apostolic readiness that is the fruit of love. This helps us to be missionaries in our everyday lives, collaborating with others to go out to the margins of human life in different ways. We are sent as everyday missionaries to the places where men and women are suffering injustice, to help heal and support the brokenhearted.
Similar to the original exhortation of Father Gautrelet, we do not need to sail to faraway places to become a missionary. We can already be a missionary in our everyday lives, brining Christ’s love and compassion to all we encounter.
- Philip Kosloski
Writer and Content Manager
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)