by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM Ireland 25.04.2023
Recently one of the Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily meditations was about boasting, or bragging. Instinctively I say to myself “that is a horrible thing to do!” But Saint Paul talks a lot about boasting – I found a website that registered twenty-two references in his letters to the subject. His most famous quote is “If I must boast, let me boast in my weaknesses”. So, should I brag? If I were to brag, what would I brag about? Saint Paul’s example is to boast about other people’s steadfast love of God and of the work God does through him, despite his weaknesses.
I began thinking about boasting from two angles. First, people who gradually get to know MMM often marvel that we don’t speak much about the marvellous work we do. It is not our way. We are “do-er” rather than “preachers”. How do you talk about MMM work positively without boasting? How do you attract young people to consider it as a possible life commitment without showing what can be possible through dedicated service? That is the challenge daily for the Communications Department!
The second angle is coming at it from the lens of a missionary. People ask “Do you convert people?” My answer is “No”. We help people open their eyes and enlarge their hearts to see how much God loves them, just as they are. So, yes, we must boast – boast about God!
We have seen “God in action” so much in our healing work. We tell stories. We tell stories of people who were very ill and have recovered due to modern medicine and their own resilience. We tell stories of women who where down-trodden or abused and who came through the ordeal with a little help. We tell stories of our broken hearts when we come across situations beyond our control or influence such as wars and natural disasters. Let our stories be our “boasting” and we hope to put the emphasis on God’s work, not us as the instruments of the work.