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If God is everywhere (and he is), and Jesus is risen from the dead (just ask Mary Magdalene), why do so many people have such a hard time finding him? It could be that they're just not looking very hard. It could also be that they aren't sure who or what they're looking for. But sometimes I think it's because so many of us block the view.
Oh, I don't think we mean to keep others from Jesus, honest. But most of us manage to do it one way or another without even trying. We do it by keeping our God to ourselves, or by treading through our daily lives desperately hoping to avoid tears in the invisibility cloaks we wear. A lot of us tell ourselves that we would alienate people if we shared our faith, that spiritual things are private matters, and that we don't have all the right answers to any questions someone might ask anyway. And the result? We become the ones who are alienated, our spiritual lives shrink to a smaller and smaller part of our whole lives, and we become content with our own ignorance of what we believe.
I know, not all of us are meant to be great missionaries, or mystics, or theologians. But we are all called to be authentic disciples of Jesus Christ--saints in the making. The problem is that we live in a world that encourages us to be everything but authentic in almost every respect. Image, the graven kind, is king. Appearance and perception are more real than truth, simply because they appear (or are perceived) to be.
So what's a true-disciple wannabe to do? Live Jesus. Those are the words of St. Francis de Sales, one of the greatest spiritual directors of all time. What's something we can all do to take our part in in the new evangelization? Live Jesus. In other words, being the Jesus you know, the Jesus that you love, in the midst of the life you lead and exactly where God has placed you. Being enough like Jesus that the people you encounter can find him in you.
That all sounds simple enough, until you try to do it on your own, or until you lose sight of the Jesus you are trying to live. That is why we need each other. Most of us are pretty good at warning teenagers of the dangers of peer pressure and reminding them to be careful about the friends they hang around with. But we grown-ups don't seem to take the importance of that message to heart for ourselves. We all need friends -- good ones. Friendships, after all, are meant to help us get to heaven, and good friends help to make us better people.
If we really take a look at the state of our faith, it's easy to see that if we do not live it out in the context of a community of disciples, it is probable that our faith will weaken, even falter. That is why small spiritual communities of faith are so fruitful. Frankly, it doesn't matter much whether people gather around being men or moms, eucharistic adoration or the rosary, charismatic prayer or Bible study, Carmelite spirituality or service to the poor. What does matter is that they gather. As Jesus said, "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them" (Matthew 18:20).
That is why, after 15 years of on-and-off-but-mostly-on Live Jesus gatherings at our home, we're hitting the restart button, and moving our monthly meetings to St. Maria Goretti in Lynnfield so we can open them up to everyone. Why? To help each other follow Jesus enough to bring others to him. To stop blocking the view, and do more to show the way.
For more information email Jaymie at email@example.com or connect on Facebook at LiveJesusBoston.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.