Superior General Father David Cray, S.S.E. reflected on what it means to be a disciple with a group of about 25 seekers after Mass at Saint Anne’s Shrine on July 10. This was part of a summertime series that takes place in the Boucher Building each Wednesday. Last week Father Lino Oropeza spoke about “Vocations: Beginning with Baptism and Our Call to Holiness.”
Father Cray ran through the joys, costs and ways of living the discipleship in about an hour. The whirlwind of information settled on that we can all find true comfort and joy by taking up the task of being humble pupils of the philosopher Jesus Christ—to be lifelong learners and teachers of The Word.
“He wept because though there were many hearers of The Word, there were few doers thereof, although they had the passion of Christ before their eyes.” -From The Servant Heart, Exploring the Life and Legacy of St. Edmund of Abington
In The Joy of Discipleship, a collection of homilies and speeches from Pope Francis, compiled and edited by James P. Campbell, Father Cray read excerpts to remind us that joy should be one of the defining characteristics of anyone who has truly encountered Jesus. Father Cray said, “I know people who are more fun than a barrel of monkeys at a barbecue but on Sunday they put on their church face—they look like chief mourners at a funeral.”
Jesus tells us, “Do not be glum.” We all need to realize the Church is God’s family and it should be a joy to attend and to serve there. It has been said that you will know disciples by their love. Even though love can be challenging at times, we all need to keep working on it, Father Cray said.
We can all meditate on The Word daily for the inspiration to move out of our own human limitations to joyfully proclaim God’s transforming love through our own words and deeds in His name. “Call on the Saints for help with this for they are loud witnesses rooting us on and cheering for us,” Father Cray said.
Father Cray read from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s clear when Jesus calls a person in The New Testament he was asking his followers to leave everything behind and die to their old life. In our own lives as His disciples, we are asked to set our face toward Jesus and away from any desires that are not in line with love.
“If what you are doing doesn’t have Jesus at the center of it, it won’t truly succeed,” Father Cray said. “Go with Jesus because there is no higher place above or safer place below.”
It is important to reevaluate our relationships with everything and go with Jesus whether it is comfortable or not, Father Cray said. He reminded us that disciples are always on the move and often are in strange and unfamiliar situations. He spoke of the way our Edmundite ministry is on the move and how he grew most when he was working in situations that were foreign to him. “Do it even if it’s scary,” he said.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
Way of Living
Obey the commandments—love of God and neighbor. Obey the precepts of the Church which are to assist at Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, confess our sins at least once a year, receive Holy Communion during the Easter time, fast and abstain on the days appointed, support of the Church and observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.
We are to practice Spiritual works of mercy which are to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead.
And to exercise the Corporal works of mercy which are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, ransom the captive and to bury the dead.
In The Servant Heart, Exploring the Life and Legacy of St. Edmund of Abington, Father Cray read about St. Edmund, “He wept because though there were many hearers of The Word, there were few doers thereof, although they had the passion of Christ before their eyes.”
In closing, Father Cray urged us all to be gentle and meek. He read Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
On Wednesday, July 17, Father Michael Carter, S.S.E., will discuss “Praying with Saint Mary Magdalene.” See you at Saint Anne’s Shrine Chapel at 11:15. For more information, call the Shrine at (802) 928-3362 or email at email@example.com.
The heart of the Society of Saint Edmund’s mission is serving where the need is greatest, a credo that has led us to four core ministries: Social Justice, Education, Spiritual Renewal and Pastoral Ministry. It is through these core ministries that we live out a faith-based life of service and make a real difference in people’s lives by bringing them closer to God.