Therese Drake is a current Seton Teaching Fellow serving on our Operations team at Brilla Caritas Elementary School in the North Bronx. She graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with a BA in Theology and Catechetics. She wrote this piece on her decision to continue to say yes to this mission!
I first said “yes” to being a missionary during the COVID 19 pandemic. I said “yes” because of the peace that overcame my heart in prayer when discussing Seton Teaching Fellows with the Lord. In the peace, He was telling me “yes, I am calling you to be a missionary.” The gift of his peace and his calling encouraged me to say “yes” to Seton, to say “yes” to being a missionary. To follow the Lord’s will was (and still is) all that I long for. Following the Lord’s will can be difficult, but oh so beautiful. Although the Lord was telling me that he is calling me to this mission, there were many in my life telling me to say “no.” I was in a constant battle with myself, “who should I be obedient to? Who should I listen to?”
As you may have guessed, I chose to listen to the Lord and moved to the North Bronx to serve. I keep reflecting on the truth that His plan is ultimately the best plan. I will follow His plan to the best of my ability with all the love that I can give him. My “yes” was not a one-time answer, but a conscious decision to follow the will of God each day. For this is what it means to be a missionary: to give up your will and to accept his. We are all called to be missionaries and do the Lord’s work. This does not mean everyone is called to do the jobs that are typically seen as mission work. It means that we are called to love like Christ, to act like Christ, to serve Christ. We are given the choice to accept this each and every day.
Particularly for me this year, when I said “yes” to being a missionary, I said “yes” to giving up my own will for a whole year! This mission year has looked very different than the vision I had in my head due to COVID and other factors. Although it is different from what I was expecting, the Lord has blessed it abundantly. He has blessed this time I gave to him by giving me wonderful women to live with, a great staff to work with, and small opportunities each day to help his kingdom. For everything a missionary does is for his kingdom.
We give all to his kingdom: the sacrifices, the times of suffering, the joys, the victories, the moments that feel like nothing, the long walks… everything we give to him. And he returns this gift 100-fold. We may never see the effects of what we did until Heaven, but each moment is worth giving to the Lord. We do not give, we do not pray in order to feel something. We give and we pray in order to love the God that loves us. When we give to the Lord he gets the fuzzy feeling. This is because our actions, our prayers, our thoughts, our words are for the Lord. They are gifts to show our affection towards him.
He is grateful for even the smallest breath being given to him. He is a good, good Father who loves us and asks us to humbly trust his will. This task is easier said than done, but worth it. I encourage whoever is reading this to ask the Lord to guide you to do his will, ask for the grace of humility to follow his will, and give him all.