Identity and Mission
The Fire of God’s Love
Jesus said, “I have come to bring fire to the earth and how I wish it were blazing already”
The Missionaries of God’s Love exist to share Jesus’ mission to bring this fire to the earth. It is the fire of God’s love, burning in the heart of Jesus, which took Him to the Cross. It is also the fire of the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost, and now experienced in a new way in the Church. The Missionaries immerse themselves in this fire through the grace of “baptism in the Spirit,” through daily meditation on the Cross of Jesus, and through Eucharistic adoration. With this fire burning within their hearts, they give all for the sake of the Kingdom and, commit themselves to the spreading of the Good News of God’s love to the ends of the earth.
A Life with Jesus
The Missionaries experience the Lord consecrating them to Himself. Each brother experiences the Lord choosing, calling, and setting him apart for the kingdom of God. Jesus calls us to be with Him and to share His way of Life. He calls us into radical poverty, celibacy and obedience in imitation of Him.
The Missionaries of God’s Love began within the Disciples of Jesus covenant community in Canberra in 1986, under the guidance of Fr. Ken Barker. Some young men, who belonged to the covenant community, approached Fr. Ken, expressing a call to priesthood, but also wanting to remain part of the community. They agreed to meet weekly before the Blessed Sacrament for a year in order to listen to the Lord’s direction. At the end of that time they began to share a common life together in a fraternity house, seeking to live the Gospel in a radical manner, by imitating Jesus in his poverty, and developing a strong life of prayer and brotherhood. They began to understand that their commitment to contemplative prayer, adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and charismatic worship, was meant to empower them to bring God’s love to others, especially to the alienated and marginalised in society.
Over the years, many men heard the call of Jesus to consecrate themselves to him and give their lives for the proclamation of the Gospel. The Lord has called us to go out on mission throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. We currently have missions in Canberra, Melbourne, Darwin and in Manila in the Philippines. In all of these areas we seek to bring tpeople into a living relationship with Jesus by proclaiming the Love of God through the Power of the Holy Spirit. Our ministry always has a particular focus on bringing the Gospel to Young people and to those who are poor or marginalised.
We are also charismatic—Our life springs from the experience of the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”. This the grace that renews sacramental baptism, opens one to charismatic gifts, brings one into deeper conscious relationship with Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and brings personal transformation, enabling a person to yield the fruits of the Spirit in a new way.
When the Missionaries take vows they call upon the fire of the Holy Spirit to empower them and they consecrate themselves to the heart of Jesus broken in love for the world, placing themselves under the mantle of protection of Mary the Mother of God, who they trust graciously intercedes for them.
We are priests and consecrated brothers together in mission, sharing in the work of evangelisation in a collaborative way with lay people. We always seek to empower the laity in their journey towards holiness and their mission to spread the good news. In return, we draw much strength and support from the lay community which is integral to our identity.
In our vows, we dedicate ourselves to the preaching of the good news of Jesus for the salvation of all men and women. We aim to lead people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and to experience a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives. We also seek to help people develop their gifts and to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need in order to be able to bring the good news of Jesus to others. Wherever we go we invite people to personally experience a new release of the power of their baptism and confirmation through a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We also try to build vibrant community life so that people have a rich experience of belonging within the Church and receive the support and challenge they need to grow as followers of Jesus. We have a particular focus on reaching young people with the liberating message of Jesus. We also focus on those groups of people who are unchurched or alienated from the Church in some way.
The formation process for the Missionaries of God’s Love occurs in a supportive environment of a brotherhood house. We are challenged to grow in loving relationship with the Lord and with others. We aim to help brothers grow toward personal maturity in every way. We seek to have a good harmony and balance between the spiritual, human, intellectual and apostolic dimensions of growth. We focus on the individual needs of each brother and seek to help him develop in his own individuality, while also learning to be part of our community.
We invite any young man interested in the Missionaries of God’s Love to “Come and See” and experience our way of life. They may then choose to enter into a time of “active discernment”, during which they prayerfully consider our way of life whilst keeping in regular communication with us. This leads into a one year pre-novitiate in Canberra. This period fosters discernment “from the inside” by living with the brothers and sharing their life and mission. Following pre-novitiate discernment, they are invited to enter the novitiate program. On completion of the novitiate program brothers are invited to profess initial vows.
Having professed initial vows, brothers have the opportunity for further study and training in our Seminary House in Burwood, Melbourne. Most of our brothers go on to prepare for priesthood and undertake several years of theological study at the Catholic Theological College , East Melbourne. Final vows are usually professed 5 years after initial vows. Our brothers are ordained first as deacons and then as priests.