One question for discussion this week that I’d like to tackle: Can you recall a “before” and “after” time in your life, when you became a true disciple of Jesus Christ?
Let’s talk about disciples and evangelization a little…
Disciples evangelize because they have really good news to share. Disciples share their faith with their children. Disciples care about the poor and about issues of justice. Disciples take risks for the Kingdom of God. (Weddell, pp. 81)
I cantor at my parish. I’ve been vocally trained classically for many years and even went to school for it. I performed a lot, won some competitions, sang in Italy, but never, ever gave thought to using my gifts and talents for God. I just didn’t. It wasn’t on my radar nor did I ever take things seriously. It was very much a self-absorbed outlook. I can definitely call that a “before” because the difference in my “after” is in stark contrast.
For a while, years actually, I stopped singing completely (not even a note!). With perspective at my belt, I can see that I was shutting off that “on stage” part of myself and in a way tried to hide from God too (although we really can’t). I moved from ambivalence to intentional absence, spiritually. Absence from music, absence from creativity, and absence from my intentionality towards God.
Only when I converted to the faith last Easter Vigil (2012) did I start singing again and only for the Church. Some think that’s odd, but I prefer now to use the gifts and talents God has bestowed upon me to bring all kinds of people to mass that wouldn’t ordinarily go: Muslims, fallen away Catholics, atheists, Mormons, hard core feminists, “None’s”, you name it. It’s a personal decision. I feel like I have to make up for all that lost time. I feel that if I can just get anyone in the pew, they will walk away with the seed of God and see the beauty of the Eucharist that you can only find in the Catholic Church. And I think that’s good news, the best news to share. The Eucharist.
The core thing is that it always has to come back to the Eucharist. Invite people to live with him and for him, anchor people in the Eucharist, and they won’t wander off. (Weddell, pp. 75-76)
I am also singing for those that come to mass weekly, that maybe haven’t been “awake” in those pews in a while. I hope to reach and touch them too. I’ve met more people than I can count this way and I always, always thank them for coming to mass. One of my favorite hymns, surprisingly, and maybe not too surprisingly, is “Go Make of All Disciples”. I’ve been singing it in my head for weeks now.
And for those of you that now have the hymn in your head and need to “finish it” here are the words:
Go make of all disciples: We hear the call, O Lord, that comes from you, our Father, in your eternal Word. Inspire our ways of learning through earnest, fervent prayer, and let our daily living Reveal you ev’rywhere.
Go make of all disciples: Baptizing in the name Of Father, Son, and Spirit From age to age the same. We call each new disciple to follow you, O Lord, redeeming soul and body by water and the Word.
Go make of all disciples: We at your feet would stay until each life’s vocation accents your holy way. We cultivate the nature God plants in ev’ry heart, revealing in our witness The Master Teacher’s art.
Go make of all disciples: We welcome your command; “Lo, I am with you always.” We take your guiding hand. The task looms large before us we follow without fear. In heav’n and earth your power shall bring God’s kingdom here.
Have you ever witnessed a change in someone else, where experienced a “before” and “after”? How do you actively share your gifts to evangelize?
See you next week.