“We are not giving up a year of our Lives, We are giving up our Lives.”

Lately I have been diving into the “Rule of Life” more and more. If you didn’t know, we as missionaries live by a rule of life. The purpose of this rule of life is to root our lives in Christ.  A life in Christ calls for dying to self and living in the Spirit.  St. Paul exhorts us to put on the Lord Christ Jesus.  Obedience to this rule of life leads us to form certain Christ-like habits transforming us into witnesses of the Gospel regardless of our age, location, or state in life.Sounds fine and dandy right? Yeah, well it can be extremely hard for me to live sometimes. When you live in the secular world for so long, you begin to buy into lies that the media feeds you. For as long as I can remember people always rate your self-worth by your success. The world teaches you that you need to strive to be what they say is the “best”. That could be going to college to get that perfect job, so then you can plan the rest of your life out with your mortgage and white picket fence, 2.5 kids and don’t forget your brand new Toyota Sienna minivan!

Or from an earlier perspective, being the best in your class in first grade with more gold stars than anybody. I’m not saying that trying  your hardest is a bad thing, but what are we trying our hardest at ..building up the kingdom of God or Our kingdom?  So ever since we are little kids we are ingrained to look out for ourselves. The world tells us that it’s normal to be sexually active in high school, do drugs, have addictions because that’s what you do and your decisions do not affect anybody else. All I have to say is “Liar, Liar pants on fire!”  (Well that’s at least what my 6 yr old self would say.)

So this drastic change of living that we are called to live is radical. The gospels teach us to live humbly, and love radically; to pick up our cross daily for the Lord’s glory. So if we have bought into any lies that the world had taught us there is bound to be resistance on our journey to holiness.
Last summer, when I was on summer staff, a verse from Ezekiel affected me all summer. “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.” At that point I was ready to lay it all on the line; to live a life of virtue and in freedom with our Lord. Now that I have struggled over the past months with the authority that the rule has in my life, I begin to understand that everything is done out of sacrifice for Love. Just as a mother guides her child whom she loves, the church guides us out of love. In the conversion that I had, in that powerful moment when I realized the Lord had more for my life than I had  planned, I understood that freedom. As I have been praying about the lifestyle we live, I understand now in this season that we are called to a daily conversion of heart. A conversion gives us the conviction of the freedom of a life that Christ has to offer us.
As I am beginning to understand the freedom of the missionary lifestyle, I praise God for calling me to this formation year. I have been recommitting myself to this “ Rule of Life “ because the Lord has called me to be an “Oak of Justice”; to bloom where I am planted and love those around me, to strive for holiness above all else by seeking the face of God. The Lord had more for me then and I know he has more for me now. Most often people tell me that it’s great that I am giving up a year of my life to serve our church. We are not giving up just one year. This lifestyle prepares us to give up our lives.

Please pray for me as I dive deeper into the spirit of the “Rule of Life”. I also have started an Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for my discernment for the fall. I am doing it as a nine day novena, please do it with me & be sure to lift me up!

http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/heart/sh_novena.htm

Please let me know how I could be praying for you. You are Loved!
[email protected]

All for heaven,

Jon

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