by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM       Ireland       21.01.2023

The other day I was down by the river. As it flows through the town it is tidal, and sometimes large stretches of the riverside are on view. It is home to many kinds of birds, but my attention was drawn to the seagulls. In the picture there are many birds, but not easy to see at first glance. Why? Because, with their brown and grey mottled backs, they blend into the colours of their environment.

Now this is a necessary protection for the young birds. They go squatting down into the soft sandy soil and become almost invisible. They are safer from predators. But as adults they need to grow their feathers, develop their characteristic white colour and venture out into the sea.

sn’t this the same growing process we all need to go through. And with us it doesn’t depend on age! Sometimes it is easier just to keep your head down and go along with things, rather than stick your head out above the parapet.

Recently I heard the story of Icarus again. We all remember the part where his father warns him not to fly too close to the sun. If he gets too close, the wax holding the feathers on his wings will melt and he will fall into the sea and drown. But few of us remember the other piece of advice his father gives him. “Do not fly too close to the sea. The water will make your wings soggy, and you will not be able to fly.” I suspect there are more of us who “fly too low”, thinking this is the safe choice, rather than taking the risk of venturing out into the world.
In our MMM Constitutions we use the phrase “the MMM adventure”, and it is correct. As missionaries we are called to get up and go, proclaim how wonderful God is and how much we are loved. If we hide ourselves in the riverbanks of this world, we are not being true to our missionary call.
Now, I am not promoting hubris and self-promotion. As in all aspects of life, balance is perfection. We may never totally attain this balance, but it is worth striving for, isn’t it?