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. 

"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.

In this episode of the Transforming Parishes, Transforming Lives podcast, we discussing how to help walk with others through the thresholds of pre-discipleship conversion.

The household’s older children erupted into endless shrieks of delight when the phone call came from the hospital announcing the birth of their baby sister and our newest grandchild. Two of the children, overwhelmed by excitement, raced out the door to tell the good news to their neighbors.

New babies are such wonders. Like magnets, they attract neighbors and relatives, family friends and many others, who soon arrive to visit. What everyone wants most is to see the new baby.

I always am amazed at the amount of time people, myself included, can spend simply watching a baby’s every twist and turn. Here, after all, is youth in a pure form. A long, winding journey awaits the child, but this present, newborn moment usually is one of immense hope and happiness.

Allow me now to fast-forward eight or nine decades to the scene of an 85th or 95th birthday party for someone born in 2014. The party may be loads of fun and represent a genuine celebration of a life. But will it erupt with delight at the great promise in this person’s life then and there? Maybe not.

To the extent possible, society seemingly suggests, old age should be delayed in favor of youthfulness. Even when an older person’s experience, insights and love are valued greatly, old age itself may be feared. So a sense may lurk in the background at our birthday celebration that the time of death is drawing disturbingly close.

Don’t most of us find it hard to feel happy about death? Isn’t death a dismal outcome for life?

Holy Week @home

During Holy Week, the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his earthly life, beginning with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. For nearly 40 days, the Christian faithful have practiced the disciplines of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Now the Church invites us to an even deeper spirit of prayer as we follow Christ on his journey to the Cross.

Traditions - especially those children can see, hear, feel, smell and taste -- provide vivid and lasting impressions for all members of the family. Take advantage of all the 'smells and bells' of Holy Week to help everyone in your family celebrate the holiest time of year.

let everythign be done in loveHowever, please remember that the holiness of your Holy Week doesn't depend on how many crafts or prayer services you do with your family. 

It doesn't depend on having kids who are willing to sit and listen to lengthy Scripture readings or on your ability to focus during long services.

The holiness of your Holy Week doesn't depend on anything you DO at all. It depends completely on your willingness to surrender yourself to Jesus' love.

Time each day this week to open your heart to Jesus' extravagant, overwhelmingly abundant, self-sacrificing love for you. Ask Him to fill you with His love and to fill even the darkest, most discouraged, most shame-filled corners of your heart with the light of His love.

Then, allow that light and love to overflow from you to those around you.

If we each loved the people in our homes and in our loves with more intentionality and extravagance this week - if we just loved them with Jesus' love poured into our own hearts - then, this year's Holy Week will be the holiest ever.