Friends In Christ:
Today marks day twelve of sitting with my mother at the hospice facility and day thirteen for her with no food or water. As I type this, I am sitting at the end of her bed and I just finished praying with her and encouraging her to let go and go be with our Savior. Her doctors believe today may be the day of her passing. We expected her to pass almost a week ago and we thought she would be in Heaven for Christmas but this too will happen in God’s time. I want to thank all of you who have expressed your thoughts and prayers for my mother and for our family. This time has truly been a gift from God. Not only have I had time to reflect on the life of my mother and on the many gifts she has passed on to me, the greatest of which is the gift of my faith in Jesus Christ, but I have also had the time to reflect on life itself.
As we all look towards the start of a new year, it is a time to reflect on God’s purpose and plan for our lives. This time of quiet reflection sitting here has given me time to consider the blessings I received this past year. It was just over four months ago that God put it on my heart to begin the ministry of these weekly letters. Since that time, many of you have emailed me to let me know that these emails have been a source of spiritual inspiration. I rejoice knowing each week God is using these thoughts and words to help Christians on their journeys. I look forward to sharing with you in 2012 and to continued growth of this 4th Day Ministry.
Some of the topics that I have shared thoughts on this past year include: the importance of having a written plan for responding to God’s calling in our life, the fact that Satan has a plan for us too, the idea that how we live in Joy or Kerygma can bring others to a relationship with Christ, the importance of finding silent time to spend in communication with Christ, and the fact that all of us have some degree of darkness or sinfulness inside of us that separates us from a more complete relationship with our God.
Today, I want to simply bring your attention to a few tools that you might want to take advantage of during the rest of this week as you prepare for a new year. Most of us start off the New Year with resolutions of some type. They may be to eat better or exercise more or any other plan to simply just live better. Can I ask that you spend some amount of time, maybe an hour a day, each day for the rest of this week, to discern and write down your resolutions to fulfill your Christian calling?
There are two, often over looked, tools that are given to us during Cursillo or the other similar 3 day weekend experiences. Even if you have not experienced one of these weekends, I think you will find these recommendations helpful. One of these tools is called our service sheet and the other is spiritual direction.
For those of you who lived your 3 day weekend a long time ago, who no longer have your service sheet, and for those of you who have not made a weekend, therefore have never had a service sheet, I have provided a link above to get one from the Cursillo web site. For those of you who might have recently made a 3 day weekend I would encourage you to find and reflect back on what you wrote down on your service sheet. This tool is a way of having a mini-written plan for piety, study and action. It provides us a basis for discussion each week when we meet in Friendship Group Reunion. Perhaps this week we can fill out a new service sheet or just write down our plans for the new year for communicating with God (Piety),growing in understanding of God (Study), and sharing your faith in Jesus with others (Action).
Another important recommendation that is made to us on our 3 day weekend is to seek out a Spiritual Advisor and to participate in regular spiritual direction. Have you done this? I find that most Cursillistas, and most Christians for that fact, do not have a regular Spiritual Advisor. This is an important part of Cursillo and it is important to all Christians on their life’s journey. We all need regular Spiritual Guidance. A trained Spiritual Advisor helps us to hear God’s calling in our life clearer and helps us to discern better what God is calling us to.
Will you commit this week, before the New Year begins, to make the phone calls necessary to locate someone who can become your Spiritual Advisor? Will you commit to participating in regular spiritual direction in 2012 and beyond with this person so that you can truly become the disciple Christ is calling you to be?
People often make too many New Year’s resolutions only to not fulfill most of them in the upcoming year. Nothing is more important than fulfilling our commitment to God that we were called to through our baptism. We have been called to live our lives for Christ and in doing so to bring others to salvation through Jesus Christ. If we employ our service sheets and we engage in regular Spiritual Direction we give ourselves the best chance of living up to our calling.
Some of us have lost loved ones this past year; some of us will lose loved ones this coming year. Perhaps God will even call you or me home to be with him this next year. Are we prepared? People in our world are hurting. Perhaps some who are reading this letter are dealing with spiritual conflicts. Perhaps you are trying to overcome certain sinful tendencies that separate you from God. When Paul wrote his letters he expected the second coming of Christ to happen during his lifetime, and he acted accordingly. None of us knows the day nor the hour of our passing, nor the passing of our loved ones nor the second coming of Jesus, therefore we must act and plan with a sense of urgency and readiness. This week take the time to make plans for 2012, and to respond to God’s calling in your life, and write them down.
Happy New Year!