“I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.” (Isaiah 66:18) Friends, This is the primary reason Jesus came into this world. He came to gather all peoples of all nations into salvation from sin and death through his death and resurrection on the cross. Jesus is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life”. There is no other way to the Father except through Him! (John 14:6)
This basic message of the Gospel is so important that Jesus tells us to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15) In Baptism and Confirmation, we have been commissioned to proclaim this life-giving basic Gospel message to as many people we can. It is an urgent message that we cannot keep under a bushel basket.
What must we do to prepare ourselves to proclaim this message? “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines” (Hebrews 12:5-7) St. Paul reminds us in this exhortation that we must be open to being disciplined by the Lord.
I have had the privilege of spending the week with 170 young missionaries being trained to be sent out into the world to proclaim the Gospel to high school youth throughout the country. The theme of this week has been personal discipline. In order to go out as a joyful band of missionary disciples, we must first be disciplines in our own relationship with the Lord. The root word of “disciple” is also the root work of “discipline”. To be a disciple requires discipline.
On Wednesday, we had an incredible talk given by Bishop Cozzens. He gave us 12 disciplines that we ought to strive to practice in our daily lives…Marian devotion, daily personal prayer, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, participating regularly in the Sacraments of the Eucharist, frequent confession, fellowship, service, fasting, alms giving, study of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church, developing a discipline and routine in daily life, and a daily consciousness examine. He suggested beginning with one or two of these and eventually working up to practicing all of them.
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” (Luke 13:24) Friends, I will begin to unpack each of these disciplines in the next few months, beginning with a workshop on prayer on September 21st. Let us continue to lift one another up in prayer over the next few months as we go out as a joyful band of missionary disciples and make disciples of all peoples of all nations. Peace and blessings.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Jim Lowe, CC