MOSAIC Spring 2017 | Page 14

JOYF UL MIS S IONA RY DIS CIPL E S Equipped for the Mission Cultivating the supernatural virtues provides the “plan, fuel, and light” to help Catholics witness for their faith. Most Rev. Gerard Battersby BEING A WITNESS FOR JESUS is “job one” for every disciple. We hear about the New Evangelization and we can become intimidated by what seems to be the enormity of the task before us. Yet, I think we err when we view the task simply from a human perspective. Jesus tells us that if we cleave to him we will bear fruit, and without him we can do nothing (Jn 5:15). The New Evangeliza- tion is the work of the Holy Spirit of Christ, and it is our role to cooperate with the movements of the Holy Spirit in our age, with our gifts and talents, and in our situations. Love: God’s Plan for Me To be a witness does not require a degree, it requires a receptive heart, a heart poised for love, a heart that calls out Maranatha!— “Come Lord Jesus” (Rv 22:20). Whenever we are confused about a task, it is good to begin with the basics, to look how God equips us for the task ahead, leaving nothing unattended. In the First Letter of John, the Evangelist emphatically tells us that God is love (1 Jn 4:8). God is love and, “this is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 Jn 4:9-11). 12 Sacred Heart Major Seminary | Mosaic | Spring 2017 Love is not a part of the story of our discipleship. Love is dis- cipleship’s very foundation, the stuff of its being. God is love and it is his expressed desire to re-establish all creation in himself (Eph 1:10). Sometimes we can persuade ourselves to tone down God’s plan as if it were too extravagant, but for those who love God, “Eye has not seen . . .” (1 Cor 2:9). This is God’s plan for all his creatures; that is, to literally make us like himself, inviting us to become love through love, to be by grace what Jesus is by nature. The enormity of God’s gift will enrapture us forever, his humility to stoop down to our need will amaze us eternally, and the love of Our Father to draw us unto himself will be a delight to our hearts for all ages to come. Called by love and enabled by love, we are to dwell in the heart of the Father’s embrace; to be as St. John and Bl. Columba Marmion teach, In Sinu Patris (Jn 1:18), “In the bosom of the Father.” Love is at the heart of the Father’s plan. It is this heavenly vi- sion that must become our vision and the animating principle of our lives. We must live in the knowledge of the truth that God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (Jn 3:16). Love is God’s plan. Hope: Fuel for the Fight Since God is love and his plan is to re-found all creation, all men and women are invited to live lives, as the Catholic author George Weigel says, in the condign shape of hope. Hope for a believer is not wishful thinking but rather a firm disposition of trust, whose substance is faith. Hope is a supernatural gift from a loving God; it must be the fuel that powers our every day, to love and serve. Love begets hope and hope empowers men and women to act, even amidst the most difficult of circumstances. People who hope live dif- ferently; they live with a heavenly perspective, with the odor of eternity about them. Those who possess the virtue of hope see further. They see through and beyond the cross. Pope Benedict XVI describe hope’s power in his encyclical let- ter on the virtue of hope, Spe Salvi: “Only the great certitude of