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Applause (and other Mission Reminders)

If Lady Gaga lives for the applause, Fr. Benedict, in his homily during the noon mass at the CFC Global Mission Center last Tuesday, says DON'T, especially if you desire to be a missionary. 

"Hindi ka pwedeng maging misyonero kung kulang ka sa pansin o uhaw ka sa attention at recognition." (You cannot be a missionary if you are hungry for attention and recognition.)

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Fr. Benedict likened a missionary's life to the function of the yeast as stated in the Gospel (Luke 13:18-21). The yeast is an important ingredient in making bread but it is hidden and rarely recognized by the consumers who are just after the finish product. Missionaries play an important role in evangelizing people and harvesting souls for the Lord but more often than not, they do not take credit for it. If they do, then, they must re-assess their selves. Are they really working for the glory of the Lord or for their own fame and gratification?  

We are all called to be missionaries. Each of us is being sent somewhere to minister to someone or to witness to something. In that case, we all need to be reminded of one thing: the world will eventually forget us. We will never be remembered by our names, but by the way we lived, the lives we have touched, and the people we have brought closer to the Lord. 

Our greatest hope is for people to never forget the God we are trying to let them know about. Our greatest joy comes from knowing that we have served well. Our fulfillment is not dependent on people's affirmation. If we are remembered, thank God! If not, thank God even more! 

For twenty long years, Mother Teresa did not receive appreciation from the people she served, not even an affirmation. But she continued her ministry. Jesus did a lot of miracles in His time but instead of receiving praises and thanksgiving, He was betrayed, crucified, and killed. The saints and other martyrs of faith experienced the same injustice and maltreatment yet they remained steadfast in faith and they bravely faced even death for the sake of proclaiming the truth.

The above stories just prove that missionary life is not really a matter of emotions nor about getting a "spiritual high." It is all about having a deep conviction that you are so loved by the Lord that you can't help but love (serve) Him back. 

Love (service) is not about having positive feelings. We will not be always happy with what we are doing for the Lord, but having a sense of serenity is more than enough for us to keep going. Our strength and motivation comes from knowing that more than what we can offer, the Holy Spirit is at work in all our endeavors.

The world offers us a lot. But living for the Lord is the only option that gives life. We strive not for the appreciation and recognition of the people but to please our one and only true God.

After all, it's not the applause of men that will matter in the end but the sweet affirming words of God welcoming us into His kingdom, telling us, "Well done, My beloved child." 

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