RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, OCT. 7, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Part of being a Christian is to be a missionary, the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro is underlining as the Church begins to live the month of October, traditionally dedicated to missions.
Archbishop Orani João Tempesta posted an article on the Web site of the archdiocese at the end of September, noting that during October the Church reflects on missions and the rosary.
These two subjects, he said "complement one another because we need an intense spiritual life and prayers to live a life of witness to the Risen Christ, and to proclaim him to the people of our time."
Archbishop Tempesta focused especially on the subject of missions, pointing out that as Christians, we are "essentially missionaries."
The fundamental mission of the Church "is always that of proclaiming the Word of God that resonates in the hearts of the faithful, witnessed and lived, which must appear in the whole life of the people of God," he explained. "All of us become followers and missionaries from the Grace we received from God through holy baptism.
"Perceived from knowledge of the Grace of God, adopted in the heart of those who seek the solidity of divine revelation in their lives, is the necessity of the mission.
"It is also the Church's mission to denounce everything that is contrary to the Word of God, such as injustices caused by private interests that derail the Christian course."
"To be a missionary is, in the first place, a great commitment that the Christian assumes in favor of the realization of the Kingdom of God, in which creatures created by him must proclaim and give witness of their faith, leading all people to knowledge of the Word of life that cures, liberates and saves," the archbishop continued.
"To be missionaries is, before anything else, the act of assuming the faith in its plenitude, in a lively dynamic of acceptance of one's vocation," he added.
"In these times of great difficulties for the mission of the Church, which suffers different persecutions in the world, it isn't easy to 'be disciples,' it's not simple to be present in society in which a minority prefers 'to forget God,'" said Archbishop Tempesta.
"In discerning 'the signs of the times,' we see the need of a new evangelization and the courage to proclaim what we believe and the importance of the values proclaimed by missionaries," he added.
Often it is thought that to be missionaries "it is necessary to enter a religious order and to profess vows to be sent to a distant land and work in the evangelization of brothers," continued Archbishop Tempesta.
Of course, he acknowledged, "there is this type of missionary work in the life of the Church," thanks to "our brothers who give their life in proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel in places where Christ has yet to be proclaimed."
However, the archbishop continued, mission is inherent "to all the baptized," and "we must act as true missionaries in the surroundings in which we live, beginning with our family and community, in which we exercise our apostolate."
Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), he noted, "never left the Carmel, but she was a great missionary, enlightened by her continuous prayers, by her missionary spirit, which she bore as restlessness in her heart, and from the depth of her love for God."
In this context, the archbishop stated, the month of October is a time "to reinforce the action of prayer and contribute to the good outcome of the work of missionaries who are on mission in lands very distant from their country or city of origin," in addition to "the opportunity to enable our daily mission to supply the necessary effects in the hearts of all the faithful, so that they will proceed seeking increasingly closeness with God."
"For all of us, the mission consists in the fact of having to embrace the proposal that God made to us at the moment in which, moved by unconditional love, he gave us life," reminded the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro. "You, also, be a missionary of Jesus Christ."