success stories

Posted March 19, 2004

Are We Being Understood? Criteria for Assessing Mission

An address to 2000 assembly of the
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
by Marianist Brother Stephen Glodek
Origins, Vol. 30

An excerpt from the article:

This is what mission is: speaking the story of Godís deeds in language and actions that are understood. Mary of Egypt and Anthony began this long tradition of Gospel storytelling by learning the language of the desert.

Benedict and Scholastica made that desert story flower with the reminder that the story of Jesus is about community.

Centuries later Francis and Clare would narrate the chapters about the poor to a community that had forgotten them.

The communities of Ignatius and Dominic took particular care that the story made intellectual sense when confronted with competing stories.

Later, John Baptist de la Salle and Marcellin Champagnat reminded the church that the story was to be told to the young.

In a postindustrial society Catherine McAuley, Katharine Drexel and others told us again that the story is to be told most especially to the least among us.

And William Joseph Chaminade and Francis Jordan reminded the church that the story is about a discipleship of equals.

All of these men and women (and many others) and the communities they founded have been moved to narrate different chapters of the story of Jesus the Christ for the Church. Ours is the legacy of the saints. Ours is the story of Jesus that must be refashioned and retold for each time and each place in which it is spoken . . .

Paul Philibert, OP, recently reminded us that we religious, above all else, witness to a privileged experience of communities seeking to sacramentalize together the Churchís intimacy with God, who calls us into anointed silence. So we are not only the storytellers but also, my brothers and sisters, we are the story itself. Our communities are the spectacle that makes the story credible or not.