In the very early years of the Church’s existence, Christians had a profound awareness of the great diversity of gifts and talents which were to be found in the community. In his letters to the Corinthians and the Romans, St. Paul attributes this great diversity of gifts, particularly spiritual gifts, to the working of the Holy Spirit.
The Church continues to display this great variety, while at the same time enjoying a great unity of spirit. There are many different ways of living out the spirit of the Gospel, but it is always the same Gospel: Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father.
In carrying out its mission to the world the Church has displayed AND MADE USE OF the same variety of gifts to answer different needs at different times and in different situations.
Even in a small group like the Hong Kong Catholic Layn Missionary Association (HKCLMA), we already perceive this variety, the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Two members have completed a missionary term, working in different regions of Africa, while others have gone there on pilgrimage, to share for short period the lives and hopes, the prayer and faith of different communities, while still others are at the preparatory and formation stage. Some are engaged in administration – a task given by the Spirit, St. Paul reminds us – while others are engaged in missionary education. “Some give by going, some go by giving” is a saying we have made use of on our posters and flyers. The saying points immediately to the different ways in which one can take part in the missionary activity of the Church.
It has been recognized in the Church, at least for the last 150 years, that some people can only take part in the life of the Church through exercising the gift and ministry of prayer: Prayer it itself an apostolic work and part of the apostolate of the Church. Each month the Pope specifically asks these people to pray for a missionary intention, to support the mission of the Church by their life of prayer.
We would strongly recommend to readers of this Newsletter to take these Missionary Intentions of the Pope to heart, and to bring them before the Lord in private prayer and in the Eucharist. The Intention can be found printed in the local Catholic newspapers. Then, too, we would ask you to remember the work of HKCLMA. Many are not be able to go abroad on mission. Many cannot give financial support. But all can spend a few moments now and then before the Lord, and so can “go by praying”.
Fr. Sean O Cearbhallain S.J.