Real Life Catholic: Ash Wednesday

The Way: A Real Life Journey: STEP 1: PRAY

“When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Matthew 6:6).

We’re going on an unexpected journey this Lent. It’s not what you had in mind. People associate Lent with “giving things up,” but we’re going to offer a unique kind of sacrifice.
It’s central to how Jesus prodded people to deeper growth and spiritual purification. It’s central to every disciple’s personal exodus from self-centered to Christ-centered.

This journey requires radical humility: a willingness to make a fool of yourself for God if things don’t go well (and things won’t always go well). It takes radical humility to be at peace with unfair judgements and labels that come with being known as a disciple of Jesus. It takes faith to care more about what Jesus thinks of you than what others think. It takes love to share the truth, beauty and power of the Gospel even though you might be rejected for it.

Sharing Jesus demands all of that from us, and more.

When Jesus sent out his apostles (check out Matthew 10), that was the occasion for them to shed all their extra “stuff.” “Take nothing for your journey” he told them. He promised that if they acknowledge him before others, he’ll acknowledge them before the father. And in that same pep talk he spoke the famous words “take up your cross and follow me.” He knows that being an evangelist requires sacrifice.

And that’s what you are. An evangelist.

Evangelist simply means “a person who shares the good news.” It isn’t a “career” for the privileged few…it’s central to the call to holiness. For everyone.

Sure, there are “evangelists” who do that as a special calling and have a special gifting for it, but every Christian is called to be a sharer of the good news in their own way, and within their own sphere of influence.

And this journey of becoming an evangelist, like all great journeys, begins interiorly. So let’s take the first step in the “inner room” of your heart, in prayer. God is with you there.

Prayer accomplishes amazing things. That’s why St. Terese is the patroness of missionaries, though she never left her convent. She prayed for the world. She changed the world by praying. She changed herself too. Her soul was a missionary’s soul, turned outside of herself, passionate about the salvation of others, and making an offering of herself in prayer and daily sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Some of the most powerful “missionaries” are home bound, in hospital beds, or hidden away in convents. We who walk the earth should remember that, and let our work for God find the same foundation as theirs.

Let’s begin: Stop. Quiet your heart. Call the people to mind who God has placed in your life who need to know his love. (That’s God placing them on your mind.) Now spend a minute asking God to bless them, break into their lives with the light and hope that only he can bring, and asking him to open doors for you and others to share the Good News with that person.

Throughout this Lent, every day, commit to saying a short prayer and offering some small sacrifice for the people you just lifted up to God.

© 2016, Chris Stefanick and Real Life Catholic