I am currently reading “Forming Intentional Disciples: the path to Knowing and Following Jesus”. This is a very challenging book for me. I am challenged on a personal level and professional level.
It comes down to, for me, the integrity of my faith. Am I a true disciple of Jesus Christ, have I acknowledged him as my true savior?
I could say “yes”, having been a lifelong Catholic and being a priest. But I also have already written about how I felt for most of my life that my level faith was rather superficial.
I attended Mass, “got” the sacraments, and did what was good. I was not unlike the young man in Matthew’s Gospel who asks Jesus what must he do to have eternal life.
I also think though that through those years, I somehow knew it was not enough. I had questions that were not being answered and questions for which I lacked the vocabulary to ask about.
Reading this book and some of its statistics, I think I am not alone. That many of my generation had/have questions that were not being answered by the institution of the Church. Many of us searching for a deeper meaning.
Maybe for that reason so many left the church, such as most of my siblings.
Now, I have been given more context and more vocabulary. I have been given some answers, and I am thinking even now, it is still not enough.
I have doubts in whether I am truly evangelizing the good news. I have doubts to whether I am communicating well the beauty and the power of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as Savior of the world.
Here again is the crux of my thoughts….have I had the personal encounter with the person of Jesus Christ?
Benedict XVI writes: “Being Christian is not the result of a an ethical choice or lofty idea, but an encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction…”
Maybe I have had the encounter but have failed to recognize because I did not, nor still do not, have the vocabulary. Maybe the fullness of that encounter has yet to happen?
SOOOOO…what I prayed over during my mini-retreat, and what I intend to discuss with my spiritual director is the meaning of this all. That searcher in me is wanting a better answer to it all. That priest in me wants to be able to share it with others.