Sunday, October 30, 2016

Living an Integrated Life as an Example to Others

In Lumen Gentium Chapter V, in what is known as the Universal Call to Holiness, the council fathers declared... 

All in the Church, whether they belong to the hierarchy or are cared for by it, are called to holiness. … The followers of Christ … have been made sons of God in the baptism of faith and partakers of the divine nature, and so are truly sanctified … It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society”

A few paragraphs earlier,the fathers made it clear that we, as the laity, share in the Church’s mission as priests, prophets and kings when they stated...

“By baptism [the members of the Church, including lay people] are incorporated into Christ, are placed in the People of God, and in their own way share the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ, and to the best of their ability carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” [emphasis added]

We, the laity, along with members of the clergy, are called to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations. It is our role as catechists to not only make disciples ourselves, but to also teach our students how both be disciples and make disciples themselves. 

Unfortunately, we live in a culture which poses particular obstacles to that mission. We live in a time in which many of us have a split between the faith we profess and the way we live our daily lives. The council fathers in Gaudium et Spes 43 said this, “...deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.” Therefore, we, as catechists, must provide those under our tutelage the tools to break down this ill conceived barrier between our faith and daily life.

Randy Hain, in his article, Six Practical Ideas for Integrating our Catholic Faith with Work, provides some great tools we and our students can use in our everyday lives to help answer Jesus’ call to “Go and make disciples of all nations...”

His article begins by highlighting the need to go out into the workplace and evangelize those around us. He points out that this does not consist of running Bible studies at work or loudly evangelizing our co-workers. While Bibles studies are good things, we are more effective evangelizers in the work place by making it known we are Catholics and living a life of faithful holiness and a being light of Christ to those around us. 

Three Obstacles to an Integrate Life

After his introduction, Mr. Hain, identifies three obstacles to integrating our faith into our daily work lives. 

The first obstacle is our tendency to compartmentalize our lives. Many people have their “faith life”, their “home life”, their “work life” and never shall any of them meet. But that is not what God calls us to do. He calls us to be fully Catholic, all of the time. 

The second obstacle is our time. We often view our relationship with Jesus as another event in the day. What we should be doing is adding everything else around our relationship with Him. He should be the center of our day. 

The third obstacle is our refusal to surrender our lives to Jesus. If we surrender our lives to him the first two obstacles are easily overcome. Instead of surrender, we want to, like Adam and Eve in the garden, have it our way.

Six Practical Ideas to an Integrated Life

After identifying the obstacles, Mr. Hain, moves on to provide six practical things we can do to integrate our faith into our everyday lives. Those six are:

1. Devote one hour of each day to prayer and reading.

2. Devote more time to the Eucharist.

3. Be a light for Christ.

4. Let love drive our actions.

5. Practice active stewardship.

6. Start with the end in mind.

I strongly recommend you read his article to see how these can be put into action.

If we really want to follow Jesus’ call to make disciples, we have to go out into the world and do it. One of the best mindsets we can have to accomplish this is to recognize that God gives each of us talents. By using our God given talents, we allow Him the opportunity to put us where He needs us most. Randy Hain’s article helps us down the path of using our talents and with the grace of the Holy Spirit, help us to show those around us the merciful love of the Father and ultimately to bring souls to Him.  

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