The Spirit of Christ be with you always, AND WITH YOUR MATH!
Wait! What? We often think that we are doing our jobs when we go out into the world after mass and display our faith and our love for Christ. In a way, we are, however, we would be doing it an academic “C” level. To fully understand this, we look at Matthew 28:18-20. This command asks us to go out and MAKE disciples, not to merely get them to convert over to Catholicism.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All Authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age’”.
What a powerful statement that Christ gave us. But what does it mean? If I decide to only ask people to believe in Christ in the Catholic way and I do that to approximately one thousand people a year for 36 years—I would be proud to know that I have touched 36 THOUSAND people! The joy that I would have in my ability to share the love of Christ would be GREAT, but it would not be what I was called to do; nor is it what any of us are called to do. DISCIPLESHIP is not about winning people over; it is about creating conversion—that part is real. It is about creating awareness and understanding of the faith in general so that those you “win over” can go out and do the same thing! BINGO! There you have it, you have done what you were asked to do. So, what would those impacts look like, is it better? Well of course! If you take the actual multiplication process of spreading the word of God and the love of Christ—Over the same 36-year period instead of leading a thousand people you merely led three, and then trained them to share the love of Christ to three others—then in the SAME 36-year period there would be well over a MILLION people who would come to know and love Christ. I think a million disciples is far better than taking a personal win of 36,000.
What I have explained is a brief difference between Spiritual Addition and that of Spiritual Multiplication. But how do we engage in the more advanced “Math of Jesus”? You must FIND- LOCATE INTEREST-SHARE- HELP. Those steps allow you to locate those that wish to know Christ, figure out their interests in Christ; their felt needs (what they think Jesus does for them); and finally, their attitude towards Jesus. This is an essential process, for from these necessary findings you can LOCATE what is attractive to them about the love and understanding of Christ.
So now gathering their interest in Christ. Understanding testimony, answered prayer stories, needs for personal prayers, and the community in which they lean towards to find and learn of God’s love, allows the original disciple to begin to make grounds of a life-long formation process. This process eventually prepares the newly formed disciple with the tools necessary for them to enter the SHARE phase of their journey. This share portion of the journey is an important one. Here we can know and spread the story of Jesus, discover the power of Bible study, hear Gospel presentations, and ultimately be led to lectio divina (spiritual reading). Once this step is complete, then we have a small period of HELP. This period allows the newly formed Disciple of Christ to be asked for a decision, and from that decision to deal with any barriers that might exist. So, what is this decision? This decision is the hardest one we deal with as a human. THE DECISION TO DO WHAT IS BEING ASKED OF US. To go out and make disciples of all nations.
Is the process of Spiritual Multiplication more natural than Spiritual Addition? OF COURSE NOT! Nothing we were meant to do was expected to be comfortable. Loving God is sometimes hard. Trusting God can equally be hard to do. But listening to God should NEVER be hard. Listening takes no effort. If we only consider time in our lives to slow down and LISTEN, then we will see a great deal of change in all areas of life.
So, the next time the next time you are in mass and here THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD BE WITH YOU we should almost respond with “and with your math.” For it is with our priest’s multiplication that we can as a community move closer to God. For they are working to make efficient and productive disciples of us all. And when we finish the Mass with—Go out and Glorify the Lord by your Presence— Maybe we should think ‘Praise be the Math of the Lord’.
I must thank my fellow Brother Knight Mr. Andy Medders for responding to my call to ask for things I could ponder and then write about. Andy is an exceptional young husband and father, and equally something I am proud to be a fellow Knight with!