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by Matthew Kelly
Thirsting for God
by Father Bob Sherry
Most of the world’s population goes to bed each night feeling unappreciated. So here is my challenge for you: Every day this month, tell someone how much you appreciate him or her . . . and why!
Appreciation is a habit that we all too easily fall out of in our busy modern lives. Rushing from one thing to the next, it can be easy to miss the chance to say thank you and to express our appreciation to someone who has made a large or small difference for us.
May God bless you . . . and I hope 2016 is a year filled with love, laughter, and dreams come true!
Only the thirst of Jesus, hearing it, feeling it, answering it with all your heart. If this is your life, you will be all right.
— From “Thirsting for God” Daily Meditations with Mother Teresa
"Only one secret: The closer we come to Jesus, the better we will know his thirst."
Let us begin this New Year with a resolution. Be all for Jesus and with Jesus and you will be happy and holy throughout the year. Give yourselves over to prayer and close union with God and to a deep, joyful charity. Be a true follower of God in thought, word, and deed: if you do this in your family, it will overflow to all.
Let each of us make one strong resolution: "I will not commit a single venial sin against charity this year."
Let us make this a year of peace in a very particular way: We will try to talk more with God and to God and less with men and to men. And then, from the silence of our hearts, we can preach the peace of Christ as he did, going about doing good to others.
Our charism is to satiate the thirst of Jesus for love of souls by working at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor. Nothing different, nothing else.
Only the thirst of Jesus, hearing it, feeling it, answering it with all your heart. If this is your life, you will be all right. Jesus's thirst will never leave you. Jesus thirsting in the poor you will have with you always.
The apostles devoted themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. Their example teaches us that the more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. Therefore, on the streets, in the slums, at work, in the home, we should pray with our whole heart and soul.
We must keep that silence which Jesus kept for thirty years at Nazareth. Even now, he keeps it in the tabernacle, silently making intercession for us.
During December, I must have received more than 25 requests for financial support for worthy causes. Some arrived with enticements, like address labels or holy cards. Others arrived with pictures of desperate people. How about you?
Do you consider such requests a nuisance, or an opportunity? What to do? Here are three suggestions:
1) Count your blessings, and consider expressing your gratitude through your own generosity. Then, review your charitable contributions for the year. If you are still below your budgeted amount, determine what more you might still be able to give.
2) If you prayed through Dynamic Catholic’s Best Advent Ever™ email program, you know that this Jubilee Year of Mercy invites us to put the corporal and spiritual works of mercy into ACTION. Note these are called ”works” of mercy and not just “thoughts” of mercy.
3) Recognize that we cannot support every cause. Prayerfully select which charities you will focus on for this year. Be generous with your few selections, and have no guilt about the others. (As long as Dynamic Catholic is among your selections!)
May God bless you again this New Year.
I am the director of religious education (DRE) for a small parish (approximately 600 families). I want to thank Dynamic Catholic for its resources, and I want to share our parish witness with you.
Step 1: A Confirmation Program
I decided to use DECISION POINT© last year to teach our Confirmation class. I did this for two primary reasons: 1) DECISION POINT was free, and 2) the video links allowed me to send classes to parents, Confirmation sponsors, as well as students who couldn’t make it to every class.
What I soon discovered was that DECISION POINT was reaching the adults. This is not to say it wasn’t reaching the Confirmation students, but several parents were moved by the videos, too.
These folks are closer to Jesus today—an unexpected fruit of this program. Our parish does not have an ongoing adult faith formation ministry. As the DRE, this is a challenge if you want parents to be catechists to their children and to live out the Faith.
Step 2: Adult Faith Formation
The RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation for Adults) director and I meet to pray for our parish and our ministries. We wanted something to help our adults in the pew, so we prayed about the Dynamic Catholic Book Program ($2/$3 books for parishes to hand out at Christmas and Easter).
Soon after, I was invited to attend a function in the archdiocese. Matthew Kelly was the keynote speaker. A woman at the event gave me Rediscover Jesus, Matthew’s newest book. This felt like an answer to prayer. As I read Rediscover Jesus, it seemed perfect to give out at our parish for Christmas. The book had short chapters, Scripture, a challenge, and small steps to grow faith habits.
With that confirmation from God, we decided to approach our parish finance council. We proposed reaching out to a certain family to see if they might like to help fund these books for the parish at Christmas.
When the finance council met, I was blown away with their answer, “Yes, we want to do the books, but we think the parish should give these. We will take on the cost.” The Holy Spirit was at work!
We know God is never outdone in generosity. The very next week, I was told that the archdiocese was giving Rediscover Jesus to parishes and that we could get the books we needed for free!
What an incredible gift for our parish! I truly see that God wanted to reward the finance council’s decision to take on that cost. God is so good!
We wrapped the books and handed them out at the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses. We made a tag for inside the cover with our Mass times, confession times, and a way to reach the parish.
This month, we will form small groups and use Rediscover Jesus to help facilitate adult faith formation. It will consist of time for reflection on a chapter or two and time for faith sharing and prayer. People already have the books, so they won’t need to buy anything.
We are praying that the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of our parishioners so they can grow closer to Jesus and his Church, and that this will be the beginning of a more formal adult faith formation program for our parish.
I am grateful for the vision of Dynamic Catholic and for the gift of programs that are affordable, even for small parishes like ours. I am thankful for quality books and videos, and I know that there are many generous donors who give so that our parish, and parishes like ours, can grow in holiness and joy.
Want to share your story? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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