Greetings from NET Team 2!
Saint Paul writes that “all have fallen short of the glory of God, all have been freely justified through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:23)
For the last few months we have been traveling through the eastern Midwest, preaching the gospel to anyone who will listen and even to young people who have been forced into coming on our retreats.Throughout our ministry, the relationships within our team have been instrumental in keeping the spirit and zeal high. I have personally been extremely built up and affirmed by the brothers and sisters that God has deemed to place in my life for the next 9 months.
Our team has a great capacity to affirm each other and love each other despite our own woundedness. One of the ways we encourage each other is having an open-ended session of ways we see Christ in each other at the end of each retreat. I always look forward to these affirmations, especially after a harder retreat. Our team affirmations have helped me see how we can experience God’s love through each other, despite our woundedness. Through my teammates, I have begun to experience God’s gradual healing in my life
One of the things that has pleased God to show me this month is how He can speak through broken things or people. A fun story that demonstrates this was when I purchased a beautiful crucifix from a small book store in Ohio. I was incredibly proud of my new prize and greatly looked forward to using it in prayer. The next day as I opened my suitcase to unpack my treasure, I found that I had broken two pieces off of the crucifix. In my anger I cried to God, “Why did you let this happen?!!!” Then I heard God’s voice say, “just as this broken cross can still bring you closer to me, so can the broken people that I have put in your life bring you closer to me.”
In today’s society, especially with a global pandemic, an election year, and other tensions, it is easy to see humanity’s woundedness. This is why there is a need for someone who shows what humanity truly is called to; This person is Jesus Christ. By His mission Jesus reveals “the mystery of the Father and of His love, [and] humanity to itself” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). One of the ways that our team participates in showing the love of the Father is giving young people an opportunity to experience this love. God the Father wishes for every human person to be in relationship with him. Natalie W, a young person who was impacted in one of our retreats was moved by our team “talking about how much God really LOVES [her].”
Even though we are wounded people, the Father loves us, encounters us, and seeks to heal us. One of the messages we tell the young people on our retreats, something that all people need to be continuously reminded of, is God’s personal love for us. His love is perfect and cannot be held back by any woundedness of ours. Saint John Paul II says that “we are not the sum of our weaknesses or failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us.” This is how the woundedness of the world is healed, through our encounters with the love of God. What makes me special is not that I am a NET missionary or that I can write a blog; I am special because I am a poor wounded sinner who is in the process of becoming a saint through the power of God’s Love for me. The key to healing the woundedness of the world is to be docile to the Holy Spirit, who renews the face of the earth.
I would like to end with a quote by G.K. Chesterton, which perfectly encapsulates what all the faithful are called to do. Chesterton challenges, “Can you hate the world enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing?” The woundedness of the world is caused by sin. It is not of God and needs to be removed. Missionaries, as representatives of the Love of God, must love the world the way God loves the world. God calls the world out of its woundedness and into His very own blessed life.