Making Disciples Today: Blog

The Making Disciples Today Blog has reflections to help you grow in your journey of missionary discipleship, reviews on recommended Catholic evangelization resources, and practical insight on how to evangelize in your daily life. 

Blessing a home recognizes God's goodness in providing for us a home to live in, invites God to be present within our home, and dedicates our home to God. A blessing isn't a magic formula that makes our homes holy; our homes become holy because of how we act inside them. Rather, it asks for God's protection over the mind, body, and soul of those who live there. 

Having our home blessed helps draw us closer to God, to Whom it is dedicated; and acknowledges that our home does more than just benefit our bodies by providing the tangible things like warmth, heat, shelter, etc. A blessed home can benefit our souls as well.

The Feast of the Epiphany has, for centuries, been a traditional time for families to bless their homes. This tradition likely came about because the Three Wise Men visited the home that the Holy Family had established in Bethlehem (before the flight to Egypt - after which they settled in Nazareth).

The visit from the Wise Men blessed the home of the Holy Family because they came in humility to honor and pay homage to the Christ Child and because they were the first to not only seek Jesus, but also to recognize Him as the Messiah. The Epiphany home blessing tradition has been more popular in Europe than in the US, but many American Catholics have taken up the practice as well.

What is a blessing?

In this episode of the Transforming Parishes, Transforming Lives podcast, we explore the reality of conflict within parish life and discuss ways to navigate through it and strategies for creating an environment for healthy, instructive conflict.

Discernment is the process of finding God’s will in our lives. It is the process of listening for and responding to God’s call. It is the process of discovering one’s vocation. We get ourselves into trouble, however, when we imagine that God’s will is “out there” and apart from us.

We run into problems when we see our vocation as some kind of riddle that we have to decipher or some secret message that we have to decode. Such an approach transforms God’s plan into a set of arbitrary instructions -- directions for life that we cannot seem to find. Under such a view, discernment becomes scary. We don’t know what God wants. And so we search frantically for some sign telling us what to do. Or we just give up.

Discernment is difficult, but it is not difficult because it is a puzzle that we can’t figure out. It is difficult because it involves the coming together of two infinite mysteries: God and me. This realization helps us to see that whenever we learn something true about God, we learn something true about ourselves. And whenever we learn something true about ourselves, we learn something true of God.

"To convert someone take them by the hand and guide them."  St. Thomas Aquinas

I spent 15 years as a youth minister taking teenagers and young adults on retreats, conferences, mission trips, and summer camps.  I'm also the product of those experiences - my earliest memory of encounter with Jesus was as a teenager at a World Youth Day Mass.  My inital conversion happened during adoration as a young adult at a summer conference.   The experience of retreating from routine and entering into a pocket in time that's totally focused on faith and genuine fellowship with other Christians can be powerful and life changing.

It is not good for man to be alone.

However, these experiences cannot and do not stand on their own.  God calls us to community and companionship.  He has created us for relationship and communion.  When these on fire young people return from their camp, retreat, or conference, they need more.  They need you.  They need your ongoing & intentional accompaniment to help fan the flame of their encounter experience (sometimes referred to as a "retreat high") into the lasting transformation of conversion!

They need you if you’re a chaperone, youth minister, catechist, teacher, or Core member.  They need you if you’re a parent, grandparent, godparent, or sibling.  They need you if they’re a part of your parish or school community.