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A Supernatural Way of Living

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Are you ready to die? This was the question the professor silently wrote on the chalkboard the first evening of my formation class in servant leadership. My thoughts ran immediately to answer, “Well, I’m certainly not ready yet!” As it turns out, he wasn’t referring to a physical death, but rather an orientation of the heart to be willing to do the Lord’s will. He was really asking us if we were willing to die into Christ, His Church, and His Mission.

Jesus models for each of us how He, as the good shepherd, lays down his own life for each of us, His sheep. Offering our owns lives for the love of others is Jesus’ vocational request for each one of us. This is not a skill to be perfected with practice, or a natural human attribute that only some of us are given, but rather a supernatural way of living through the power of grace that each of us is destined for.

 

The Continuation of the Gospel

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What does it mean when St. Paul implores us to preach the Gospel?  Does that mean we need to know every word of scripture and shout it from a soap box on a street corner? While this could be one way, I would argue St. Paul is talking about a more personal Gospel.

I once knew someone who was fond of saying that the Bible has many chapters, but it is only the first chapter in the larger Gospel, the Good News of God. She claimed each one of us, our individual stories, are a continuation of that Gospel. We all have episodes of time where we feel close to God, but then something, like sin, separates us from Him. He then restores the relationship with us, causing us to turn back to Him and His Church. Each of these personal stories that we hold in our hearts are little Gospels. When we tell others of these stories we are doing what St. Paul implores in 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19 .

When I first became Catholic, I hesitated to share what God did in my life, because I thought I might sound crazy to others. However, in every instance, when I thought it would be poorly received, I was met instead with open minds and curiosity, even while working in the secular world as a recruiter at ManpowerGroup Solutions. 

As Simon says to Jesus in the Gospel of Mark 1:29-39, “Everyone is looking for you.”  Everyone around us is looking for a savior, most spend years searching in the wrong places. It is our responsibility to share Jesus, by sharing the Gospel He works in our lives, with them, so they might see and hope in Him. 

Following the Rules

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Which Commandment do you find to be the most challenging? This is a great exercise if you know your Ten Commandments. Not all of our students at St. Dominic Catholic School can recite them frontwards and backwards, but we try. When I was a classroom teacher, I made sure my students could do just that. My students and I invested a lot of time in impressing them into their minds, into their consciences. These are God's rules, why wouldn't you want to know them? We practiced them, recited them in order and out of order, we studied what they meant. We worked to figure out how they fit into the covenant of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of the covenant in the New Testament. We discussed how brilliant Jesus was in taking ten and turning them into two - the transition from the Ten Commandments to the Great Commandment. We lamented that, even though Jesus simplified things, we still fail to follow the rules. Why is it so hard to follow rules? Free will. God loves us so much that He doesn't want to constrict us but allow us to freely choose Him. The rules aren't to be restrictive but freeing. Think about that for a minute.

Following God is not meant to be complicated. After all, Jesus tells us to approach God like a child. Don't think too hard about it. Life is complex. Messy. God helps us find order. Keep it simple like going from Ten Commandments to the Great Commandment. Love God with all your heart, mind, and being, and love your neighbor as yourself. Rules keep our free will in order so that we may experience joy.

Posted by Jill Fischer with 1 Comments

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