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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. 

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.

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.