Become a Better Disciple and a More Faithful Leader
Making Disciples & Forming Faithful Leaders
I was baptized as an adult. Many people don’t remember their baptisms, because they were only days or weeks old at the time. In my case, I remember being dressed in white, walking down the aisle, standing at the front of the Church overcome with nervousness. Of course, I was excited, but being the center of attention—all eyes on me—was very distracting. The priest was a large man, much larger in stature than I, and seemed like a giant towering over me. Yet as he scooped up the water from the baptismal font and poured it time after time over my forehead proclaiming boldly “Ricky, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” in my mind I was waiting for something miraculous to happen. And although at the time I didn’t feel it or hear it or even sense it, in hindsight I know that something miraculous did happen that day.
As you know I’m a big proponent of marriage as it has been seen traditionally for thousands of years. I believe that the family is also an essential part of society and the Church. Without the family, society crumbles. Without the family, the Church dies. That is why these are two very important institutions that I think people don’t fully understand.
I love to read, but I usually don’t buy new books. I buy most of my books at the thrift store. Each time we go to the thrift store I end up walking out with a bag or two of books for only a couple of bucks. So I wanted to share with you my latest haul.
I’m feeling down today. I woke up to 23 new messages from a good friend of mine. His name is Father Switbert Mujuni. We’ve only been acquainted for about a year and a half, but I consider him one of my most intimate friends. Father Swit is the pastor of a poor parish in a rural area of Tanzania called Bumai.
Every moment of every day is an opportunity for blessing. Each encounter wherever it occur is an opportunity for grace. You and I are meant to be channels, instruments through which the blessings of God pour out into the lives of others. Yet, so often we let fear get in the way, we prevent those blessings from ever occurring for the tiniest of fears.
There is something inherently beautiful about being outside in the glory of what so naturally is nicknamed “God’s Country”. Taking in the fresh air, admiring the scenery, one can’t help but get caught up in it. On a camping trip this past weekend with family and friends, on several occasions I caught myself or one of the others staring off, glassy-eyed, overcome with a profound sense of serenity that is so hard to come by these days.
What really sets us apart from the plants and the animals, the sea and the sky? Animals are free to move about, to seek food and shelter. Plants grow, spread their seeds, multiply. But they don’t really have much of a choice. They do what they have to do to survive. They live off of instinct. However, the human being has a very special gift bestowed upon him at the moment of creation… freedom.
This morning I was out for a walk. I prefer the early mornings just as the sun begins to peek over the San Gabriels. With rosary beads in hand I made my way down the quiet streets. But on this particular morning I was interrupted by the sound of rushing wind over my right shoulder. At first I thought it was just a bird who came to close. Though after a second time I caught a glimpse of the outstretched wings spanning close to five feet and I realized I was being pursued by a hawk!
Following the Example of St. Maximilian Kolbe
Accepting fully the shared mission as a member of the Body of Christ—that you are called just like the original eleven apostles to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:18)—you know and believe that you are sent out into the world to bring people to Jesus, or even more so to bring Jesus to the people. Yet, this mission can often seem overwhelming.
Three Ways Parenthood will Make You a Saint
I realized at Mass this past Sunday as I held my son in my arms, my back straining from the extra weight, that it was much more difficult for me to kneel down during the consecration, in fact it felt like my own little calvary. That’s when it hit me. I was literally carrying my cross.
It is not everyday that we are blessed with the opportunity to meet someone who is truly a living reflection of all that Jesus Christ is and challenges us to be. Yet, those of us who had the great privilege of knowing Fr. Frank Wagner can say just that. For he was an extraordinary example of what it means to walk with God.
For many people it is difficult to see God as anything more than some ethereal, external force that floats around in a far away nothingness seeking at all times to burden our lives with rules and punish us for each and every misstep. This unfortunately false concept of God is what those who deny His existence often believe Him to be, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The one true God, Creator of the Universe is actually closer to us than we can ever imagine, who desires at all costs to enter into intimate relationship with us. In fact, God loves us so much that He wants to marry us.