As the Spring season dawns on us in New York so too does the warmth and fragrances of nature. At Easter we join with Jesus in proclaiming new and resurrected life. This can strengthen our faith in God and hope for a better world. I think imagination is an important factor when addressing the theme of hope, especially during these challenging times with a pandemic affecting the lives of people throughout the world. Without imagination we can fall subject to either the presumption that humankind can solve all problems by itself or despair when it discovers otherwise. Hope with imagination enables us to avoid both of these pitfalls because its fulfillment is always on the horizon in our life’s journey. It is an eschatological hope that can only reach its fulfillment when we are finally fully united with God. Faith driven by love for God’s people and demonstrated in our relations to them propels us forward ‘imagining’ what full union with God will be like and striving to grasp it day by day. Perhaps another word for imagining is dreaming. Maryknoll needs dreamers who truly believe that a world centered on God’s love for it is possible. God became a human being and took the name of Jesus to show us the way to make all this possible.
When Maryknollers go to Africa, Asia and Latin America we are filled with both excitement and some trepidation. We wonder if we have what it takes to learn new languages, adapt to new cultures and establish good healthy relationships with the people. Missionary virtues include creativity, imagination, a sense of adventure and, yes, dreams. Our vocation is steeped in faith, hope and love. Prayer, attentiveness to God’s activity within us, becomes core as we slowly grow and acculturate in these new settings. In time we recognize God’s voice not only in our own lives but also in the lives of those we encounter in these new lands.
I hope you recognize how much you and so many others like you are needed today. The message of God’s love for all people is so important. It needs to be preached not only in words but in the actions of our daily lives. Each of you is a messenger wherever you go and in whatever you do. But, you still need to take some steps in the direction that will fulfill the dreams that have brought you in contact with us. So, don’t be stymied by the challenge. Rather, imagine, dream on and make the dream a reality!
As always we look forward to hearing from you: Fr. Rodrigo Ulloa-Chavarry (firstname.lastname@example.org), Fr. Mike Snyder, Fr. Joe Donovan and Mr. Greg Darr