Here’s how you start

30 Oct

(This is the fifth in a series on our Church and our personal faith as we answer the call to spiritual renewal in the Year of Faith.)

The sufferings of the present age are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but by him who subjected it; yet now with hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Rm 8:18-21)

Just how do I share my faith?

To come to the Lord is glorious joy, dynamic peace – the kind of joy and peace that overflows into the lives of others.

First of all, you embrace the call of Christ. You enter fully into the fullness of his humanity and divinity. You surrender to him in perfect obedience and trust.

Obedience: This not a popular or a “comfortable” word. In our human experience, surrender means defeat. In the Christian faith, surrender means victory. Jesus died and in that death he was victorious over both sin and death. In our surrender to Christ, we cling to his victory and knowing the grace of salvation, we are filled with the joy and peace that surpasses human understanding. That joy and peace is a reward and celebration of the victory of obedience.

Trust: It’s hard to imagine trusting God outside of the discipline and grace of obedience. In fact, to trust God is an act of obedience. Trust in God is rooted in your knowledge of his unconditional love and his dominion over all “things seen and unseen.” The supreme act of obedience and trust is seen in the mystery of the Cross. Jesus obediently accepts the will of the Father – and in the throes of physical torture and the emotional shock of rejection and being abandoned, our Lord said, “It is finished. … Into your hands I commend my spirit” (See Lk 23:46 and Jn 19:30).

This is the first step – to become one with the suffering and resurrected Son of God. It’s the first step in our acceptance of salvation and the fulfilment of our hope for eternal life.

But too many Catholics for too many generations have stopped there: I accept salvation; I accept the sacraments and the teachings of the Church. I am a practicing Catholic.”

The second step: It’s time to stop “practicing” and start “doing.” What to do? See what Jesus tells the seventy-two disciples they are to do:

  • They are to go into villages that Jesus intends to visit to prepare the way for the Lord – as did John the Baptist.
  • They will be like lambs among the wolves depending on nothing but the grace and strength of God.
  • They are to bring peace to the villages and to every household; they are to remain in one place, not seeking comfort or popularity among the residents.
  • They are to heal the sick and announce the kingdom of God as being there, among them.

What more do you need to know?

(Next: You have both privilege and power)

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