The IHM Community has been meeting since yesterday and we’ve been privileged to have with us Father Anthony Gittins, CSSp, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans).
Gittins is a professor of mission and culture at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois. For the past twenty-five years he has with and among homeless women on the streets of Chicago and in a shelter. For seven of those years he was part of Genesis House – a community where women struggle to escape from prostitution (from CTU website).
Here are a few of my thoughts from the presentations (any inconsistencies are mine, not Gittins):
MISSION. Gittins has been talking about mission and what it means to today. He started off by saying that mission is not what we do, it’s not even what the church does … mission is what GOD does. So it can be difficult to define “mission” exactly because it is caught up in the mystery of the triune God which we can never really fully comprehend or explain.
EVANGELIZATION. Evangelization is often connected with mission but again, it’s neither ours nor the church’s. Evangelization is the work of Jesus Christ. This is more than mere proclamation. Jesus’ evangelization certainly included proclaiming the Good News but to really understand what evangelization means, we have to look at the WHOLE of Jesus’ life. So let’s look at what Jesus does … he walks around, talks with people, receives from others, serves, asks questions, teaches, cries, rejoices. In all of these things Jesus evangelizes.
DISCIPLESHIP. So what are we to do if mission belongs to the Trinity and evangelization belongs to Jesus? Our job is discipleship. All we can do (and all is everything) is learn from Jesus, learn from what Jesus does. We cannot just pick one or two things of that Jesus did and say it’s mission — that’s just making up our own thing. We are called to learn from Jesus’ whole life. “If you want to be my disciple you have to do it my way; I’ll show you how; walk around with me day by day.”