Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Activated Disciples

Editor's note: This is another great contribution from the one and only Holly Vaughan. You can follow her on Twitter here!

I actually intended to write this post about a youth conference that I attended with my son and a friend of his at the archabbey a few weeks ago.  It was an incredible experience, and I’ve been mulling over in my head how to share it. On the way home from Mass however, I picked up my phone to listen to the rest of the Jeff Cavins Show episode that I had started - Give People What You Have.  It’s a great episode on sharing the faith with others, but what struck me most was at the very end, where Jeff says a prayer for those listening to his show.  Toward the end of the prayer he prayed that we may all be activated disciples. He didn’t focus in on or explain those words, but they caught my attention immediately.  Many of my family members have served in the military - my grandparents actually met in the service during World War II. My grandfather was in the Army and my grandmother was an airplane mechanic in the Army Airforce.  I am familiar with the language of the military and instantly thought about what it means for the troops to be activated.

When the National Guard, for instance, is activated it is generally in response to a need.  They go out for the good of our country and they tend to the wounded, they bring the needed supplies that people need to live, and they restore order and peace.  Hearing the words “activated disciples” made me stop and consider whether I am actively doing all that I should be as far as evangelization and reaching out to others.  When a member of the National Guard is not being actively called to orders they don’t cease to be a member of the National Guard. They live out their normal life, attend training to be prepared for when they are called, and to to anyone who saw them on the street they appear no different than anyone else.  But they have a bigger mission that they stand ready to fulfill at any moment. They never cease to be what they are trained to be, whether that is apparent to others or not.

This is often how we live our Christian life I think.  We attend Mass, receive the Sacraments, and I’m sure most of us pray as often as we are able.  We are faithfully attending the training. We are receiving the tools that we need to bring others to Jesus.  Are we using them? Our mission is here and we are already called to orders. If we are being Activated Disciples, we should be on alert for ways to bring the sheep to the Shepherd.  We have to be aware of that opportunity at the grocery store, or with that old high school classmate, or that lady in the elevator. The needs of the people are great - many are wounded, many are in need, and many live every day without the peace that Jesus can give them.  These are the needs that we are called to respond to. We are a mission church. That doesn’t mean that you have to leave the country, or your town, or even your parish. The needs are all around us. It’s often easier to respond to a tangible physical need, but the world is hurting terribly in the spiritual need departement as well.  As Catholics we are called to respond to both - this is why we have both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

This is our call.  I encourage you to reflect on these words today - Activated Disciple - and to consider how you can live them out.  That doesn’t mean you have to undertake any giant projects, or head up new ministries - although if you are called to that, that’s a wonderful thing.  Sometimes it can simply mean just showing up and allowing God to use your story and your words to reach another person - and that’s something we can all do.  

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