And the Word became flesh...
Madelein Delbrêl, a French laywoman, writer, mystic and a former atheist- and perhaps, future saint - wrote this beautiful meditation:
We cannot be missionaries if we have not sincerely, generously, and warmly welcomed the Word of God, the Gospel, within ourselves. The vital dynamic of this word is to take on flesh, to become flesh in us. And when this word comes to dwell within us, we become capable of being missionaries.
You cannot pass on what you do not have. As an intern here for the past few months, I know firsthand that Jesus was right: "without me you can do nothing." But with him, we bear great fruit - "we become capable of being missionaries."
The time of martyrs comes and goes, but the time of witnesse continues without end - and being witnesses means being martyrs. This incarnation of God's Word in us, this allowing ourselves to be molded by it, is what we call witnessing. To take the Word of God seriously,we need all the strength of the Holy Spirit. If our witness is often mediocre, it is because we have not realized that the same kind of heroism is needed to be a witness as to be a martyr.I read once, somewhere, that everyone is called to be a martyr. Some, like Sts. Peter and Paul and Perpetua die gruesome deaths for the love of God. But the majority of us endure different martyrdoms - dying to self in little ways every day, like driving in rush hour traffic without giving in to road rage, or living a Christian life even when it means losing friends or sacrificing sleep for someone else's benefit. And these acts of martyrdom are only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. We cannot be effective witnesses without the Holy Spirit.
At the beginning of each hour of the long day, we could say, "I must begin this hour as if I were going to be a martyr, and a witness" - because there is not one second that we have the right to let God's Word lie dormant in us. And this entails awakening a fervor in our very being in the presence of the grace of each moment, a wildly passionate expectation for that strength, without which we would turn traitor.Remember Ephesians 2:8-10? For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.
God has called each one of us not only to a personal relationship with him, but also a mission: to tell the world about his love for us, to be witnesses to that love, and by doing so, lead others to him. Realizing that should lead to "a fervor in our very being" and "a wildly passionate expectation for that strength" he gave us.