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. 

The Theology of the Body was the topic of 129 talks given by Saint John Paul II during his Wednesday addresses between September 1979 and November 1984.

The word theology comes from the Greek root words theos (God) and logia (word). Theology, then is literally a “word about God.” St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, then, can be described as a word about God and the body.

Fr. Dan Beeman, a priest and pastor from Norfolk, VA took to Twitter recently to share about how to navigate conversations about faith and spirituality at your Thanksgiving gatherings.

Sometimes we feel like our family and friends can get "sick" of hearing us talk about our faith.  Even the most open-minded, prayerful, and loving comments we make and stories we share can be perceived as judgement and lecture.  Just mentioning the slightest thing about spirituality and faith seems to cause certain family members to shut down or roll their eyes.  We, in turn, find ourselves getting defensive and avoiding the topic completely - often feeling like we can't be authentic and true to ourselves.  It's a vicious cycle of judgement, defensiveness, and silence that leads to cultural maxims like:  "We just don't talk about religion here."  

Fr. Beeman's suggestions are great if you don't have anyone actively hostile or defensive (on either side of the faith discussion) sitting at your Thanksgiving table.  But what can you do if you feel like anything you say related to faith and spirituality is outright ignored, causes anger, inflates tension beyond bearable levels, or is openly mocked?

Fr Dan Beeman thanksgiving tweet

"Discipleship" is often a buzzword in the church - used in numerous contexts and for varying purposes.  For our purposes, discipleship is an active response to a relationship with Christ.  Discipleship is active. It happens on purpose.  Author of the book Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell, said, "You don't do [discipleship] accidentally; you don't do it in your sleep." 

Relationship is at the heart of discipleship 

This means that it is not a pyramid or mountain of perfection to climb.    It is a journey of growing - of knowing, loving, and serving Jesus, His Church, and one another more and more deeply.     

The USCCB has outlined a four step methodology for helping people to grow on their discipleship journey.  This Encounter, Accompaniment, Community, Mission methodology is outlined in the USCCB document Living as Missionary Disciples: A Resource for Evangelization. While not exhaustive, this resource includes some good reflections on each of the four areas of evangelization methodology.

We have provided some of our own reflections on what each of these moments on the discipleship journey might look like - both in your personal life and your parish.  You can access these reflections by click on the (+) next to each movement.   

Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.” Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14

The commitment to living the Christian life is an essential element of the culture of witness. We witness to the Christian life through living out our respective vocations. As St. Peter tells us, we must “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone
who asks . . . for a reason for [our] hope” (1 Pt 3:15). We should be looking for ways to share with others the way we have experienced the salvific love of Jesus Christ. As Bl. Paul VI said, “In the long run, is there any other way of handing on the Gospel than by transmitting to another person one’s personal experience of faith?”