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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jesus Christ: the Heart of Ministry by Br Juan Villagomez, SOLT

What is at the heart of ministry? What is the source from which all works of charity get their energy? What is the balm that heals and strengthens the heart of both the minister and those he ministers to? The answer is Jesus Christ. Whether they know it or not, people yearn to encounter Him. But one cannot give what one does not have, so the minister is called to personally encounter Christ who is the Living Word of God. He must do this for himself and share the fruits of that encounter with others. This activity of encountering and communicating the Divine Word can be called Theology: an expression formed by two Greek terms meaning “God” (Theos) and “Word” (Logos). When we put them together they give three possible meanings to Theology, they are: “God’s Word”, “A Word to God” and “A Word about God.” These three meanings, when viewed together, draw us into a dialogue with the
Eternal Word as He comes to us in Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist.
The saving dialogue begins by God’s initiative as He reveals Himself to us through God’s Word. We freely respond to it in prayer by pronouncing a loving word to God in the depths of our heart in an attitude of adoration of the Divine Mystery, at first not so much comprehending it as realizing that we are comprehended by it. As a reward for this surrender, God illumines us with a ray of understanding: a word about God. But understanding is not given so that it may become one’s private property. God always bestows His gifts on individuals in consideration for all His people. And so this “Word of God” that calls for a “Word to God” in prayer and leads to a “Word about God” must be shared with others that their hearts may be disposed to seek God in the same way.
This dialogue also takes place in the Eucharist, which is The Word made flesh and veiled in mystery. But the most eloquent description of such an encounter is best illustrated with a living example: let us turn to Mary whose life is an encounter with Christ in both His Word and His Body for she conceived Him in her heart through faith, before she conceived Him in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. St. Augustine, Sermon 293). Let us make the Heart of Mary our school for the encounter with Jesus Christ. Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, Mother of the Eucharist, pray for us.
-by Br. Juan Villagomez