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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Jesus commissioned his followers to “make disciples of all nations”

Jesus commissioned his followers to “make disciples of all nations”

I recently attended a four-day-Convocation for priests in the Houma-Thibodaux Diocese. We looked at our goals and objectives for the next five years. One handout we received was entitled “Nine Dimensions of a Fully Mature Missionary Disciple.”

When Jesus was leaving this earth, he commissioned his followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

The following nine characteristics are found in a mature disciple of Christ.

1) RELATIONSHIP: I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that has changed by life and serves as my rudder. Relationships are at the heart of our spiritual life. If we don’t have a personal relationship with the Lord, we need to spend more time in prayer so we can develop an intimate kinship with our creator and redeemer.

This will give us a purpose in life.

2) CONVERSION: I have allowed Jesus to reshape my lifestyle. I no longer live in a me-centered world. I live in a Christ-centered world. I try to get in touch with those things in my life that are not of God and replace them with things that are pleasing to God. I realize that conversion is a daily lifelong task.

3) GROUNDED: I firmly ground my personal experience of God in the Bible’s objective truth and the teachings of the church. This means I take time to read spiritual writings regularly.

4) DISCERNING: I am docile to the Holy Spirit and I want God’s will in my life. I discern daily what God wants me to do in life. I long to stay in relationship and in communion with God.

“Heavenly Father, lead me, guide along my way.”

5) HOLINESS: I am committed to a lifestyle of holiness, prayer and virtue. I will daily practice the virtues of Faith, Hope, Love, Chastity, Patience, Kindness, Humility, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice. I am also committed to serve the needs of others and be responsible for the care of God’s creation.

6) WORSHIP: I am committed to worship God every week because the Almighty has been so good to me for sending his Only Begotten Son into the world to teach us how to live. Jesus also died for us so we can be free.

I am committed to become a true worshiper in spirit and in truth and not just a spectator. I understand what goes on at Mass or a worship service.

7) COMMUNITY: I need people in my life who want my holiness as much as I do. Others know me and they hold me accountable to my commitments to Christ, the Church and my vocation in life. I find rest, peace and strength in those I associate with, and I try to give them peace, strength and encouragement.

8) OTHER PEOPLE: God loves people and so do I. I see others as human beings, not as categories or objects. I follow Jesus’ directive. “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

St. Paul echoes that when he says, “The entire Law is fulfilled in a single decree: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14)

9) EVANGELIZATION: I long for others to know Christ. I know my testimony about how Jesus has touched my life and I share it with others. I believe that evangelization is talking about someone, not something.

These nine characteristics can be an examination of conscience for where you are and where we have to go in the spiritual life.