Ever thought of being a missionary disciple? For most of us who are married and have kids, the possibility of going overseas somewhere to share the Gospel with others by feeding the poor and clothing the naked just isn’t practical for our state in life. Had we encountered Jesus earlier in our life things may have looked differently and hopefully we would have taken advantage of mission opportunities.
However, the truth is that all Christians are called to be missionary disciples, no matter your state in life. The pre-requisite of course is that you have had an encounter with Christ and allowed him to begin to remold you into the man you were made to be. I’d like to share with you a way to consider looking at yourself as a missionary disciple. They can be compared with a SWAT operator in many ways, which may be helpful to envision this call.
Made to Save
The original purpose of a SWAT team was to save lives. Particularly, the lives of those who are on the brink of disaster and whose freedom has been taken from them in hostage situations. As a SWAT operator your purpose is to repel evil with swift and distinct force and to place yourself between the threat and the one you are sent to save.
A missionary disciple has a similar purpose. We are to be sent to help save those whose freedom has been robbed from them by sin, attachments and self-induced sedation. We are made of the same stuff as the people who we see trapped, but our encounter with Christ has so radically changed us that we yearn for them to see the freedom that they are made for.
SWAT operators protect themselves with armor because they go into hostile environments. Driving up to a scene operators can see the flashing red and blue lights of police activity. It is a clear sign of the real danger that lies near it. To prepare for the ensuing engagement, you first must ensure that your armor is affixed to protect you from the enemy. In addition, the work is done in groups and as a team they provide the necessary security for each other by relying on the brother next to them to watch their back.
Missionary disciples must also acquire protection for the battle. The culture is an unsafe harbor for our kind. We obtain protection through the Sacraments, which confers grace and makes us bullet proof. Without the influx of grace from the Sacraments, missionary disciples walk into battle vulnerable and weak. Secondly, we must have a battle buddy, a band of brothers. Men need a tribe to do battle with in order to provide the necessary protection for each other on the journey.
SWAT operators are skilled weapons handlers who hone their craft so that when the moment arises when they must use them, their hands are steady and aim is true. The weapon is the instrument of the skilled SWAT operator who can unleash great power through it in order to bring peace and order back to an environment of hostility and chaos.
The missionary disciple’s weapon is prayer. St. Padre Pio said the “Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today”. The beads of the rosary are not some fuzzy meditation, but are belt fed rounds; combat effective and each one calls to mind the name that is above every name, Jesus. The other weapon that every missionary disciple carries with him is Eucharistic Adoration. Our Lord asks “for an hour of reparation to combat the hour of evil” and to share in the work of redemption.
Christian missionary disciples are those who willingly go into harm’s way to save his brother in his own community and is willing to lay down his life for his friend. We can see how SWAT operators serve the community where they work. As missionary disciples we don’t have to look far to see those in need around us who could benefit from our friendship and the life changing message of the Gospel.
Put on the Armor of God (Eph 6:11)