Clearing the Heart to See the Truth

Changing the World By Changing Yourself

Carol staggered through the overcrowded streets in Pattaya, Thailand, deeply troubled by what she witnessed: bar after bar where women could be bought and sold as slaves for sexual desire. She witnessed black magic, drug use, intoxication—the smell of evil. She even witnessed a three year old offered for prostitution. This experience inspired her to begin a ministry aimed at rescuing young women from such a hopeless life of enslavement.

Michael is a truck driver, and by his own admission, a recovering addict of many vices. When he gave his life over to Christ many years ago, he discovered the power of Jesus to heal and forgive, and decided to offer himself as an ambassador of hope for the addicted. Michael has been offering recovery counseling and encouragement for almost 20 years, now.photo

Randy is a physician who grew weary of the antilife philosophies he encountered in a profession that is supposed to be aimed at helping sustain life and promoting health. He decided to do something about it. He now helps lead a physician’s guild for Catholic doctors who wish to practice according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know all three of these individuals, as well as many, many others just like them, through a program called the Spiritual Mentorship Program in Kansas City, Kansas. I am an eye witness to the transforming power of grace and of the powerful creativity of God in the lives of His beloved. Working closely with my School of Faith team, as well as with the Apostles of the Interior Life, a religious community from Rome, Italy, I have been overwhelmed at the focused intensity of the Holy Spirit during our time together, one week in January, and one in May, in this two-year program.

This program is designed to train lay people to be leaders of the spiritual renewal taking place in the midst of our cultural demise. It was the brain child of Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas City, Kansas, when he was traveling in Rome. He and Sr. Susan Pieper, the Superior General of the Apostles of the Interior Life, were traveling in a bus filled to the brim on a hot Roman day, and the Archbishop commented to Sr. Susan that he wanted to raise up an army of trained laity who could spiritually mentor others in the interior life and their growth in holiness. He asked for her help, and asked the School of Faith for our help; the rest is history. We are now on our second class of 80 or so students, who are due to graduate in January of 2015. I am so impressed with the growth that I see from these adventurous souls.

Carol came because she wanted to receive training in the interior life to bolster her confidence and energy with the power of Christ in her ministry.  In order to assist young women to transition out of the sordid life of sexual use and lost hope, she utilizes the formation she received in the Mentorship Program to teach them about prayer and the interior life. Michael takes the spiritual training he received to meet with and challenge other addicts to discover the freedom found only in Christ. Whether they be in the physical prison of solid metal bars or the moral one of broken whiskey bottles, Michael mentors men on skid row to rediscover the hope of renewal in the Holy Spirit. Randy has decided to mentor some young doctors in ways that they can bring to bear the teachings of the Catholic Church into their professions with greater effectiveness. The tools he is receiving from this program prepare him with both solid moral arguments and spiritual fortitude to bring about change in his profession.

One of the great errors after Vatican II was the mistaken notion that if someone wanted to be an active member of the lay faithful, their ministry had to take place in the parish or clerical setting. What stories like Carol’s, Mike’s, and Randy’s tell us is that we’re beginning to realize the power the faith has through lay people who are not only active in the parish but active in the world. You don’t have to be a Church worker to be making a huge impact through your faith. What you do need, though, is ongoing formation in Catholic truth and the spiritual life. Let’s pray that more and more laity will seek the resources they need to make major differences wherever God places them. (For more information about the Catholic Spiritual Mentorship Program, please contact Cari at www.schooloffaith.com.) Image of Sr. Raphaela of the Apostles of the Interior Life teaching on Virtue in May 2014

Clearing the Heart to See the Truth

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