Mission of Divine Persons

When discussing the Trinity, we can see that the three persons are of the same essence and One God.  In the Nicean creed we profess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.  This mission of divine persons can be seen directly in their processions.  Through this mission of procession, we can see their unity and equality.  Through this unity and equality is their ultimate end of the redemption of mankind (Garrigou-Lagrange Ch. XVII).

Mission involves the sending of someone from another and is made up of being send from a specific destination, to a specific destination, and a link between the two.  To process in mission from one is an implication of equality.  In the military troops are sent forth to another region.  They do not represent themselves, but the nation to whom they belong.  If they do something wrong, it is as if the whole nation has done something wrong.  Though this may not be the best example, especially regarding the Trinity, it makes the point that the procession of divine persons is equal to the sender.  They are worth no less than the one doing the sending.

In the persons of the Trinity the Father is not able to be sent, but the Son and the Holy Spirit can be.  The divine persons being sent do not cease to be where they are or where they are going.  They have always existed and will continue to be.  They are God and thus are omnipresent and omniscient.  This procession in mission is done for the purpose of our very sanctification.

 

Works Cited

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald.  The Trinity and God the Creator.  https://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/TRINITY.HTM#00, accessed December 12, 2018

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San Xavier Mission: Tucson's Oldest Church

Located nine miles south of Tucson is an American treasure.  The San Xavier Mission was built as a mission for the Native Americans in the Arizona Territory, and it serves the same purpose today.  The mission still runs a school as it did in the early days of the mission.  The history of the mission is an amazing one in that its founding also laid the foundation for what would eventually become Tucson[1].  The mission was founded in 1692 by Eusebio Kino.  He was not the first European to enter Arizona, but he found 800 native people who were very welcoming and friendly.

The first church established on the mission was destroyed in 1753 in no small part because of strained relations between the Pima Indians and the Spaniards.  The building was not the only casualty as Jesuit missionaries and people sympathetic to the Spaniards were also murdered.  Spanish soldiers were sent in on a peacekeeping mission and things began to be as they were before, and as Steve Barnufsky states “Throughout all the turmoil the lone priest baptized five people in November that year, and 34 children were baptized at the beginning of the year[2].”

The current church began construction in 1783 by Father Velderrain who was a Franciscan.  This is significant because up until this time the mission had been run by Jesuits.  The Jesuits were expelled because of strained relations between Mexico and Spain.  The current structure was started with a 7,000 peso loan from a Sonoran rancher by the name of Antonio Herreros.  The local villagers were instrumental in the project as they worked on it from start to finish.  The almost completed structure was deemed complete 1797.  Money ran out so the east tower was not completed and paintings were left unfinished.  Over the west entrance is the start of an unfinished painting with the stenciling still present.

The mission church was a wonder of the frontier, and of the Arizona territory.  In a questionnaire from August 4, 1804 Tucson presidio commandant Jose Zuniga writes, “The entire structure is of fired brick and mortar.  The ceiling is a series of arches and domes.  The interior is adorned with 38 full-figure statues, three frame-figures dressed in cloth garments, and innumerable angels and seraphim[3].”

In 1844 the church became part of the Diocese of Sonora.  At this point in time the mission was without a full time priest.  There were a couple reasons for this, but the most prominent was the warfare going on between the Apache and Pima tribes.  The second is that severe drought had a stronghold over the land for about five years.  It was a difficult time for the church and the people, and the church fell into disrepair.  Father Diaz was the last resident priest in 1837 and he writes, “Mission property existed in name only, in hopeless disorder[4].”

This was very concerning to the diocese as they took over.  The bishop sent a circuit riding priest to the mission twice per year until a permanent pastor was found in 1848.  Each time he visited the people were excited as they can receive the sacraments that only priest could give.  During his six visits to the mission Father Bachiller don Trinidad Garcia Rojas baptized 49 people.

In 1854 Arizona officially became part of the United States as a result of the Gadsden Purchase.  As a result the bishop of Sonora was no longer responsible for the neglected mission.  This was a turning point for the mission as one famous artist H.M.T Powell predicted that the mission will fall to ruin within a number of years[5].  The Diocese took over management of the San Xavier Mission and provided priests and funds for restoration.  The people of the villages were excited and joyous that the church would once again be operating on a full time basis.

In 1865 Father Messea took over as Pastor at the mission.  In his interactions with the people and while touring the land he noticed that there were no schools nearby.  He then set out to build a school for the children which the mission served.  His efforts were noticed by the first governor of the Arizona Territory who wrote, “At the Mission of San Xavier del Bac, Padre Messaya, has a great trouble and expense to himself, educated all children free of charge[6].”  The school would struggle for the first few years as parents did not see the value of education for their children.

It was the school that was keeping priests in residence as they were also the teachers.  With no priests in residence the church was the target of theft and many priceless items were stolen.  Bishop Salpointe was able to raise enough money to have someone stay in residence as a deterrent.  In an interesting development the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions took an interest in the school and was able to reopen it in 1884.  Though it started back up with 15 students much of the subject matter did not matter to the students, and by December of 1888 the Presbyterians had left.

The school reopened in 1888 under the care of the Carondolet sisters (Who also founded two hospitals in Tucson), and has been in operation ever since.  In 1897 the Diocese of Tucson is created and the mission has had a permanent priest since then.  There has been damage to the church from an earthquake in 1887 and from the hot Arizona sun.  Funds have been hard to come by, but those on the Tohono O’dham reservation have pulled together in an attempt to keep the building from falling into disrepair.  The restoration effort was assisted when the Mission became a historic landmark in 1963[7].

Today the mission provided two masses Monday thru Friday, one mass on Saturday, and three masses on Sunday.  The school is still in operation and teaches around 80 children every year.  The children are educated free of charge, are fed breakfast and lunch, and are taught the Gospel on a daily basis[8].

Image result for san xavier mission

            In conclusion the San Xavier Mission has a storied past.  It was almost lost to disrepair, but it was brought back from the brink by the management of the diocese in which it belonged, and from the love of the people it serves.  Father Eusebio Kino started the mission to advance the gospel and educate those in the vicinity of the mission.  The goal of the mission is the same as it was then.  Everyone is invited to the masses that the mission provides, but only the Native Americans living on the reservation can be baptized or married within its walls.  Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this research was talking with those who sell food by the mission.  Hearing their stories of how their great-great-great grandfathers helped build it.  To the people of the Tohono O’dham nation the San Xavier Mission is also part of their family and heritage.

 

 

Bibliogrpahy

“San Xavier Mission,” Patronato San Xavier, august 3, 2016 August 3, 2016, Sanxaviermission.org.

Fontana, Bernard L. San Xavier Del Bac:  Portrait of a Desert Church. Tucson, AZ: Southwestern Mission Research Center, 2015.

Shirley Kolinowski, via telephone William Hemsworth, Tucson, AZ, August 2, 2016.

Steve Barnufsky, In Discussion with Father Barnufsky William Hemsworth, Tucson, AZ, July 30, 2016.

[1] Steve Barnufsky, in Discussion with Father Barnufsky William Hemsworth, Tucson, AZ, July 30, 2016.

[2] ibid.

[3] Bernard L Fontana, San Xavier Del Bac:  Portrait of a Desert Church (Tucson, AZ: Southwestern Mission Research Center, 2015), 22.

[4] Ibid, 25.

[5] Bernard L Fontana, San Xavier Del Bac:  Portrait of a Desert Church (Tucson, AZ: Southwestern Mission Research Center, 2015), 22.

[6] Ibid, 34.

[7] “San Xavier Mission,” Patronato San Xavier, accessed August 3, 2016, Sanxaviermission.org.

[8] Shirley Kolinowski, via telephone William Hemsworth, Tucson, AZ, August 2, 2016.

Let's Be Honest: Are We Truly Following Christ?

A recent pew research study showed that there are roughly 2.18 Billion Christians in the world[1]. The church is still growing around the world, but imagine the impact if there were a greater emphasis on making Disciples? Most churches focus on evangelization, which is very important, but evangelization and discipleship need not compete. In fact, they are linked together to transform a sinner to a saint. This is done in three stages which are declaration, development, and deployment[2].

Declaration is the first stage of being a Disciple. This is when individuals make the decision to follow Jesus. In this sense, someone is making the conscious decision “to recognize and accept who Jesus is as Lord, leader, and master of our lives”[3]. When people make the decision to follow Jesus they have thought it through and are not reacting based only on emotion. In their mind, they have decided that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God, and are making Him their leader.

The great twentieth century theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it another way. He states, “Those called leave everything they have, not in order to do something valuable. Instead, they do it simply for the sake of the call itself, because otherwise they could not walk behind Jesus[4].” In the stage of declaration the individual takes on the role of an investigator, and investigates Jesus. Did He really exist and die on a cross? Are the claims of His followers true? Some people may investigate sources outside of the Bible to come up with their conclusions. Whatever the case may be Jesus is at the center of the process, and the goal of declaration is to arrive at a place of committed belief.

The second stage in the process is development and is where disciples learn to live and learn the teaching of Christ. It is a step that is also known as obedience. We can acknowledge Jesus as savior all we want, but this is where we learn His teachings. Dr. Earley states, “The second stage of discipleship requires that we embrace the cross, forsake all to follow Jesus, and bear fruit by abiding in Christ[5].”

The Apostle Matthew is a good representation of this stage. He was born a Levite and most likely trained in the Torah from an early age. He knew he Jesus was, and most likely recognized Him as the Messiah if only privately. Then one day he was collecting taxes and the call for obedience came swiftly. Matthew 9:9 states “And Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he rose, and followed Him.”

Jesus says in Luke 9:23 that a disciple must take up his cross daily, and like Matthew we must do it. In other words, Jesus is reminding His disciples that following him will involve suffering and hardship[6]. Matthew went from being a follower with a knowledge of who Jesus was, and went to an individual who made a commitment and was obedient. We come as we are to this stage, trust Jesus, and allow Him to clean up our lives. This is important because many people think they have to clean up their lives beforehand. Jesus chooses us as disciples for what we will become, not for what we are in our current state. Jim Putnam writes, “This second attribute of a disciple is primarily a spiritual response to the Holy Spirit. It speaks to people at the heart level, as they assimilate the Word of Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to transform their inner being[7].”

  • This second stage of obedience is sometimes the most difficult because human beings by nature are impatient. We get the idea that since progress is slow that we are not doing it correctly, but that is not the case. This development process is a lifelong process. It is a commitment prayer, involvement in a church, studying the scriptures and getting involved with the churches mission to save souls.

The third and last step in making a disciple is that of deployment. Jesus was a Rabbi, and in His day a Rabbi taught at progressive levels. This helped build trust, obedience, and commitment. Jesus deployed the disciples when He felt they were ready to replicate His teachings. The training of the disciples culminated in what we now call the Great Commission. Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to me on heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Their training is now complete, and they are being sent to do the same. That command is still valid for the church today. W. H. Mare writes “The message of the commission, seen applied from the time of the fall of Adam, through the period of the cross, is to be proclaimed throughout this present age to the second coming of Christ[8].”

This last stage of the process, as with the others, is not optional. A disciple of Christ is also called to be a missionary. They are someone to carry the Gospel, and proclaim it, wherever they are. Jesus came and told people to repent, He taught His disciples and sent them out, and that means that we must do the same. To not do that would mean that we would not be obeying.

Dr. Early states, “It was not twelve special men who were sent out as missionaries. All of us are sent. It is not only extra-special people who have been sent on a mission for God. All disciples have been sent[9].” We must be obedient and go where we are sent. It may be to work every day, overseas, school, or in our neighborhoods. We can go out daily and live and proclaim the Gospel no matter where we are. We must obey the command that Christ gave us and go.

The Great Commission were the last words that Jesus spoke, and as anyone knows, the last words a person speaks have special meaning. These words were sewn into the very fabric of the disciples’ hearts, and out of love for their Master they did everything possible to fulfill that mission. In fact, all but one disciple were martyred to fulfill that command.

In conclusion, these three steps have a couple things in common. The first and most important is that Jesus is at the center of it all. We accept Him as savior, calls us to follow, teaches us, and sends us out to repeat the process. Secondly the three steps of declaration, development, and deployment create stepping stones that build strong Christians that will be ready, and able to make an impact on the world. These three principles are a wake-up call to all of us. Are we truly following Christ? Are we being obedient to what He is telling us to do? Are we going out like we should, or leaving that burden on church leadership? If we are in Christ then we are ministers of the Gospel, and Jesus tellings us to go advance the gospel.


 

WORKS CITED

“The Size And Distribution Of The World’s Christian Population,” Pew Research, accessed May 23, 2014 December 19, 2011, http://www.pewforum.org/ 2011/ 12/ 19/ global-christianity-exec/ .

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Discipleship. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003.

Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is…How to live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B& h Publishing Group, 2013.

———. Disciple Making Is…How to live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B& h Publishing Group, 2013.

Putnam, Jim, and Bobby Harrington with Robert Coleman. Discipleshift. Grand Rapids, MICHIGAN: Zondervan, 2013.

W.H.Mare. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed. Edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

Earl Radmacher, Ron Allen, and H. Wayne House, Compact Bible Commentary Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004

[1] “The Size And Distribution Of The World’s Christian Population,” Pew Research, accessed May 23, 2014, http://www.pewforum.org/ 2011/ 12/ 19/ global-christianity-exec/ .

[2] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…How to live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B& h Publishing Group, 2013), 59.

[3] Jim Putnam and Bobby Harrington With Robert Coleman, Discipleshift (Grand Rapids, MICHIGAN: Zondervan, 2013), 46.

[4] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 58.

[5] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…How to live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B& h Publishing Group, 2013), 68.

[6] Earl Radmacher, Ron Allen, and H. Wayne House, Compact Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004), 717.

[7] Jim Putnam and Bobby Harrington With Robert Coleman, Discipleshift (Grand Rapids, MICHIGAN: Zondervan, 2013), 49.

[8] W.H.Mare, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 524.

[9] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…How to live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B& h Publishing Group, 2013), 81.

Go Therefore

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name o the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”-  Matthew 28:19-20

We have all had someone close to us who has passed away.  We often remember the last thing we heard them say, and hold it close to our hearts for the rest of our lives.  Before Jesus ended his earthly sojourn He gave us one last command.  He gave us what would become known as the “Great Commission” then He ascended to Heaven.

That last command is the mission of every church, and should be the mission of every Christian.  How are we helping to fulfill this mission?  There are any number of ways.  You don’t need to be  charismatic speaker, but we can pray for those who are.  We can serve the community or volunteer at the church.  The opportunities to assist the church in fulfilling this command of Christ are almost infinite.  Are you doing your part r simply relying on someone else to do so?  We are all equipped with spiritual gifts that will help our churches.  No job is to small.

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