MOSAIC Spring 2017 | Page 7

“I have found this prayer to always bear fruit: ‘Holy Spirit, please make me an evangelist. Jesus, please send me people.’” disciples. With the apostles as our God- given example of “a band of joyful mis- sionary disciples,” the pope advises us to cultivate our relationship with, and depen- dence upon, the Holy Spirit as missionary disciples: “At Pentecost, the Spirit made the apos- tles go forth from themselves and turned them into heralds of God’s wondrous deeds . . . the Holy Spirit also grants the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness in every time and place. Let us call upon him today, firmly rooted in prayer, for without prayer all our activity risks being fruitless and our mes- sages empty” (EG, no. 259). As with the first disciples of Jesus, de- pendence upon the Holy Spirit and seek- ing to live under his influence is critical to remaining in Jesus—on the vine and bear- ing fruit. In addition to cultivating our relation- ship with the Holy Spirit, it’s a given that solid times of prayer (along with feeding on the divine life of God poured into us through the Sacraments) must be the heart of discipleship. As the pope notes, “With- out prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sin- cere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless, we lose our en- ergy as a result of weariness and difficulties and our fervor dies out” (EG, no. 262). The Band: No Lone Rangers As this reflection on becoming joyful mis- sionary disciples closes, I’d like to echo the words of Archbishop Vigneron from Ash Wednesday 2017: “We don’t do this alone.” As joyful missionary disciples, we must have brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we can grow, converse, and share the move- ments of the Spirit in our life. God gave us the Church, a familial real- ity—not the lot of “lone rangers.” Practically speaking, I can’t think of a more fruitful practice (outside of reception of the Sacraments, Eucharistic adoration, and delving into the Word of God) than getting together with another disciple (or several) to talk about what the Lord is do- ing in my life, to pray and grow together, to sing and praise together, to talk Scrip- ture together, to study the faith together, to go evangelize together. As the famous passage goes, “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man” (Prv 27:17). Families, God willing, are built-in bands of joyful missionary disci- ples! And still, finding good faith-building relationships that help disciples at all stages of life, from moms and dads to children, to grow together as disciples, is a great idea. Some readers may even remember the Christian Family Movement from not long ago. Currently, many parishes are be- ginning to offer discipleship groups. Ad- ditionally, many parishes that offer Alpha, ChristLife, and other faith studies (from Bible studies to the studies of the saints), offer these studies in formats designed to promote small group dynamics that allow disciples to grow together through the gift of authentic interpersonal sharing. The “iron sharpens iron” quote above is so true; I’ve learned so much from my brothers and sisters in the Lord in small groups and faith-centered friendships over the years. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us find practical ways to ensure we’re not lone rangers but growing together as a band of joyful missionary disciples. Blooming in Our Midst I hope this reflection has inspired you, and that maybe you’ve underlined a few things to help you on the journey. I ad- mit to experiencing waves of exhilaration when writing this reflection; it started, and will end, with prayer. Sometimes the language might have seemed too much, too optimistic, maybe describing more than what appears to be seen. Ultimately, I think my language falls far too short of sufficiently describing the beauty of the springtime of the Church that is blooming in our midst—if we have eyes to see it, ears to hear it, hearts to feel it, and the rocket fuel to get in on it! Fr. Patrick Gonyeau (2013) is associate pastor of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, St. Moses the Black, and Our Lady of the Rosary Parishes, and is a regional evangelization coor- dinator for the Archdiocese of Detroit. 5