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The Call to Mission

Mercy Moments Issue 132

Bevan’s description of our call to mission as being … co-workers and sacraments of God’s movement of healing, reconciliation and life-giving in our world is wonderful invitation for each of us to consider our life and our work in a wider transformational context.

As agents or partners in God’s mission  we can source rich guidance on what this mission agency looks like from the scriptures and also from the lives of great leaders like our own founders: Catherine McAuley, Nano Nagle and Elizabeth Hayes.

The great leaders of the Hebrew scriptures responded to God’s call to justice, faith and compassion by challenging every kind of injustice and violence and continually calling people back to the right path. This applied equally to the great figures like Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon and to minor figures like Jonah, Ruth, Esther and Daniel. The words of the prophets certainly reinforced the call to mission in community with reminders that we are all called to walk humbly with God (Micah), to hate evil, love good and establish justice (Amos) and to live in quietness and in trust (Isaiah).


A black and white image of an elderly homeless man holding a sign that reads

Jesus also blazed a mission path, putting a human face on the call to mercy, justice and compassion. As the Mercy Partners Theological Framework notes:

In Jesus, we encounter a God who heals the sick, feeds the hungry, befriends outcasts, and forgives, and asks all others to join in this way of living mercy in the world.

Indeed, the Gospels provide a detailed guidebook for mission agency, with an emphasis on love, inclusion, mercy and justice.

St Paul’s second letter to the Christians in Corinth uses the powerful metaphor of a letter to capture the importance of our personal actions towards others.

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all: … written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (1Corinthians 3:2-3).

Catherine McAuley, Nano Nagle and Elizabeth Hayes were love letters to the poor and vulnerable of their time. They
epitomized Bevan’s definition of mission as being co-workers and sacraments of God’s movement of healing, reconciliation and life-giving in our world. 

We are called to do the same. To ensure that our actions, our words, our kindnesses impress God’s love on the hearts of those we meet. To make love the driver for
all that we do: love which is inclusive, forgiving, courageous and merciful. Pope Francis calls on us to be permanently in a state of mission, to accept God’s invitation to become partners in the transformation
of our world.


What kind of letter are you writing in your actions toward others?
How can you be permanently in a state of mission?