Let’s not only talk about Him, but let’s consider Him as central to our faith belief, as He is the way, the truth,and the life [Jn 14:6].
When I was an older teen attending Catholic schools in Utah, I use to go on retreats to one of the convents in downtown SLC. At my confirmation, around age 12, I began to discern the possibility of a vocation as a religious, and all through high school, I made good on that discernment. I lived at the convent for two months one summer, the year before my senior year. I was very inclined to join the Daughters of Charity. Very. Then my mother came up with breast cancer, my father’s job was causing him much travel time, and I decided to put the strong inclination on hold and take care of things immediate to me. I guess you could say the rest is history…..my personal history. But, my inclination toward religious life did not end, in fact, it was only just beginning and growing stronger. When I look back now, I realize how God fulfilled my desirous inclination – my very deep want of relationship with Him, through a lay vocation. All the talents and charisms I was blessed with have been used abundantly in my lay life, among my family, my church, with the education of my children….exhaustively so, and yet they keep coming….they keep flowing.
I never stopped working with priests and sisters, and with religious education in those earliest years – in fact, little did I know that my working at CCD [Sunday school] on the weekends in our parish, was the beginning of my formation for something God later had in store for me; (because I attended Catholic schools, I didn’t need to go to religious instruction at the parish on weekends). Seemingly by default, I fell into teaching our 2nd grade at our church during my married life, and eventually was asked to serve as director of religious education, which I continue today.
I can do all things in He who is my strength. [Phil 4:13]
.The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart. [Jn 7:38]
When I was also in my older teens, I committed myself to Jesus, I accepted Him as my Lord and savior (yes, protestant sounding, isn’t it?) 1 But the truth is, knowing the person of Jesus and following Him is what our Catholic faith is about. All else falls into place thereafter. It isn’t a foreign notion, or non-Catholic notion to accept and take up a relationship with Jesus. If more people consciously did this, think how transforming our churches and communities could be.
There is a marked difference between being an intentional disciple, or a cultural one…an intentional Catholic, or a cultural Catholic, the latter being one born into the faith, but never really making it their own – never really taking up a relationship with Christ and becoming a true disciple. Never really opening up and unwrapping the charisms given to one in the awesome outpouring of the Holy Spirit through baptism and confirmation. Think how true disciples of Christ can change the world……can change your church, your community, your family.
When I was a young mother, still bearing children, and beginning to home educate my own, I founded a mother’s nurture group for Catholic home schooling moms in our parish, and the motto I adopted to it was from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, also a mother, and the founder of a religious order…..”Women building the kingdom of God through home schooling; women of faith, women of hope, women of love.” My heart felt desire was to bring out in myself and these mothers the sharing of spiritual property, as one would gather to share intellectual property for the betterment of a cause, I desired not just that (for the good of home schooling) but for the building of the spirit and strength in these godly women. We read our bibles together a lot, we studied church encyclicals, we prayed together (the best part!), and we grew in our relationship with Christ. I still take away fruits from those meetings, to this day, although the group no longer meets.
I wanted to share with you a bit of my personal journey, to lead you to a wonderful resource that helps Catholics in particular revisit their baptisms and confirmation, and reawaken, renew within themselves the very gifts they’ve been given, and how they can live them out as true committed followers of Jesus Christ. The book speaks for itself and much more eloquently then I can, so I leave you here with the information regarding it.
God bless –Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
by Sherry Weddell