BY HANNAH CRITES
Early Saturday morning, students crowded into the Gallery of the J.C. Williams Center to hear Justin Fatica from Hard as Nails Ministry talk for Mission Immersion Day.
Many students are leaving campus next week to participate in various mission trips, nationally and internationally.
Fatica, a rough guy who compared himself to Rocky, chose to yell into the crowd instead of using the sound system provided. He outlined three evangelical virtues – courage, authenticity, and obedience – that the students would need as they prepared to go on their spring break mission trips.
“We fail more than we succeed,” said Fatica. “Courage is not about results, it’s about doing it.”
Courage is necessary when traveling and participating in missions, he said. It’s also necessary in preparing for mission when the individual must leave behind sin and baggage that will distract him on his mission.
“Repentance is a continual transformation,” he said. “If you are going out there with hatred in your heart, today is the day to get rid of it.”
Fatica quoted paragraph 273 of Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the Church’s role of evangelizing in modern society.
“My mission of being in the heart of the people is not just a part of my life or a badge I can take off,” Fatica said, “it is not an ‘extra’ or just another moment in life. Instead, it is something I cannot uproot from my being without destroying my very self. I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world.”
Fatica related Pope Francis’ words to authenticity, his second topic, encouraging the audience to be vulnerable and love those they are serving on their missions.
“When you are talking to someone, remember that they are God’s kid,” he said. “When you meet them, you need to love them and get to know them because someone died for them. The mission work never stops.”
Finally, Fatica discussed obedience, telling the story of his father and how he neglected his son, never acknowledging his son’s achievements and the pain that Fatica felt as a result. He quoted Matthew 22:37-39, which reads:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In return for the neglect, Fatica reminded his father that despite the pain, he still loves him and is proud of him, which is exactly what he wanted to hear as he was growing up.
“If you are going to do great mission work, know this,” he said. “Son, you’ve got a God that is proud of you. When we go to adoration to see Jesus, we see love.”