Week Eleven: Forming Intentional Disciples

Back on the wagon after a hiatus for which I have neither reason nor excuse. A reader had emailed, asking me to continue my participation, because she liked my perspective as a dad. I never consciously intended to cease contributing my paltry submissions – but getting that note was just the right amount of encouragement to soldier on. Add to that that Mark Shea mentioned at his blog I was making my way through Sherry’s book – well, I’m taking both things as a sign that I ought to complete this. So I’m jumping right back on rather than backtrack.

Chapter Ten – Do Tell: The Great Story of Jesus

In your own faith:

Are you practiced in sharing the Gospel story? Have you ever heard it told especially well?

How can you become more skilled at explaining and answering questions about the Gospel?

In your parish:

What are times and places at your parish when the Gospel story could be shared in a few quick words? In more detail?

Sharing the Gospel story is something I need to work at. I stink at a lot of things, and that’s one of them. It’s not because I don’t know the story. I’m much better at talking about certain and limited aspects of Church teaching, but that’s not evangelization.  I can talk to my sons about sin and its consequences, about loving our neighbor, about doing unto others – but that’s not evangelizing. That just compels them to be scarce so that they don’t have to listen to another of Dad’s “talks”.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try. But it does mean I don’t try hard enough. I’m sure I’ve said this before, and I know I’ll say it again: there have been many times when I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to give me the words to speak, and He replies “shut up please”. Do I listen? Not nearly enough.

I believe that my family knows I love Jesus and that I strive to do what’s right – Sunday Mass, my weekly adoration hour, they see the books and prayer cards, they know I pray.  They’re also witnesses to my greatest failures as a Christian.  As I’ve straggled hither and yon on my spiritual journey, I’ve come to realize that the best way for me to spread the story of Jesus to them, at this point in my life, is to simply love. Love as He did, without counting the cost. As much as I don’t like cliches, it comes down to “Spread the Gospel, and when necessary, use words.”

I’ll never come close to His example – we can’t outdo Christ in any of the virtues, as He is Perfection in all good things – but that can’t be a deterrent in refusing the attempt. I still golf even though I’ll never be as good as Phil Mickelson. I still write even though I’ll never be as skilled as Dickens or Twain. I still sell even though I’ll never be as successful as Tom Peters or Zig Ziglar.

So I will still love even though I’ll never be as good as Christ. Or even the lowliest of saints. He promises to provide the grace sufficient for the day, even if I provide the most meager of efforts.

And I think that between the two of us, if I become the disciple He desires me to be – that I desire to be – we’ll do just fine in spreading His story.

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One response

  1. I spoke to a priest friend last night after Mass – he highly recommends this book and is using it with the teachers in his school to help catechize/ground them. So now I’ll have to read it too I guess.

    Keep up the good work Larry!

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