MOSAIC Spring 2017 - Page 5

JO Y F UL MI S S IONA RY DI S C I PL E S Joyful: Give Your Heart Daily Can you imagine the tension that must have been present at the Last Supper? After three years of traveling with Jesus through- out his public ministry, the apostles must have been amazed, bewildered and, yes, fearful. They heard Jesus tell them multiple times that he would be handed over to the gentiles, be crucified, suffer, die—and then rise from the dead. They had witnessed miracle upon miracle and experienced his power when he sent them out to preach, drive out evil spirits, and heal (Mk 6:7-13). They had experienced his love and compas- sion as they traveled endless hours with him and he spoke to their hearts—both in- dividually and as a “band of brothers” and the original fathers of the Church. Jesus began to explain the new reality that would come into being for his apos- tles and future disciples. In chapter 14 of John’s gospel, we read that Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit was coming, that Jesus would not leave them orphans, and that they would soon experience a greater inti- macy with God than ever before: “On that day you will realize that I am in the Father and you are in me and I in you” (Jn 14:20). To further illustrate the new level of in- timacy the apostles (and future disciples as well) of Jesus would have with God, Jesus explained that “I am the vine and you are the branches” (Jn 15:5a) and “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples” (Jn 15:8). Jesus then instructed the apostles to remain in his love and that by keeping his command- ments they would remain in his love. Upon telling them of this new reality that was to come, which would be depen- dent on their whole-hearted commitment, Jesus revealed, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete” (Jn 15:11). The apostles knew the joy Jesus had and displayed! No more attractive joy and love had ever graced the earth than the joy and love of Jesus, because his was a divine joy and a divine love in per- fect communion with his Father and the Spirit and free from all sin. At Pentecost, all of the apostles (except for Judas) would be imbued with that joy through the Holy Spirit. But first . . . they scattered when Jesus was arrested. At some point, the apostles had a choice to make: keep running or turn back. By the time the apostles arrived in the Upper Room at Pentecost, they had turned back to their fate as disciples of Jesus. They were locked in the Upper Room with fear until the Holy Spirit utterly transformed them. From then on, they were all in. This isn’t to say they wouldn’t make mis- takes in their apostolic mission, but it is to say that their hearts from that day forward would be given over fully to Christ and his mission. However, this commitment surely had to have been made repeatedly by the apostles as they encountered persecutions abroad. How did they stay committed? How do we follow suit? He Really Is With Us The apostles received incredible prom- ises from the Lord before he took physical leave of their presence at the Ascension. At the Last Supper, Jesus told his apostles that “whoever has my commandments and ob- serves them is the one who loves me, and whoever loves me will be loved by my Fa- ther and I will love him and reveal myself to him”(Jn 14:21). After his resurrection, Jesus likewise told his apostles, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20b). The Lord’s promise to his apostles, and us as well, which we do well to take to heart, is that he really is with us. At every moment of the day, Jesus is right there waiting to encounter us. As Pope Francis notes, “Whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms” (EG, no. 3). The true joy of being a disciple of Jesus flows from not just choosing to acknowl- edge and encounter Jesus (as critical as this is), but choosing to go all in with Jesus by giving him your whole heart uncondition- ally every day. That’s a life changing en- counter with Jesus! We remember that the rich young man went away sad in the gos- pel of Luke because he didn’t go all in with Jesus when Jesus asked him to do so. Some of the most joyful words to flow across the lips of a disciple of Jesus are, “I’m all yours Lord, do with me what you will!” In his will we find true joy. A major aspect of living as a joyful How to Grow in Friendship with the Holy Spirit Here are practical tips for cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit, another mark of a joyful missionary disciple! • Ask for a daily infilling of the Holy Spirit. Each morning, simply ask the Holy Spirit to imbue your mind with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and enable you to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit in abundance. Joyful missionary disciples abound in the fruits of the Holy Spirit—they’re the bait for the Jesus fishing company! • Begin to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit throughout the day. Ask him to lead you and to help you see what he wants you to see. Frequently surrender yourself to his will. • Attend a workshop or program, such as Called and Gifted, to help you to discover what your God- given charisms are. • Receive the gift of baptism in the Holy Spirit if you have not already done so. Baptism in the Spirit is a beautiful gift God has given to the Church. A great way to receive this gift is to attend a Life in the Spirit seminar. While it comes forth as a great fruit of the Charismatic Renewal, it is not only for those who enjoy that expression of the Catholic faith. 3