Digital Discipleship: What is it?

What is a digital culture? How can a digital culture relate to discipleship? Author Caroline Cerveney, SSJ-TOSF, was recently on a cruise, where everything was coordinated in a digital format. She received a plastic card imprinted with her name, photo and dates of the cruise. This same card became the key to my stateroom and was used for all financial transactions on the ship. For 10-days, I had a glimpse of a digital
world, where cash was no longer needed!
As I ponder this experience, I continue to become more aware of how our world is becoming digital in so
many areas – finances, communications, education and more. Yes, we are immersed in a digital culture! And as this culture surrounds us, we find ourselves:
• At breakfast, checking Google for the current weather forecast and morning news.
• Checking our phone to see if an Uber or Lyft driver is in the area to take us to work.
• While riding to work, we begin to open Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to catch up with
what we missed during the night and to communicate with our online friends.
• We observe others with their heads down, completely immersed in this digital world, headphones
in, talking little.
Nothing describes better what is happening than saying we live in a digital culture.

There’s nothing more important than following Jesus

Readings for Today

(Homily given at Saint Dominic Priory, Saint Louis, MO, on July 2, 2018.)

When I was writing my dissertation, I had to leave my room. If I stayed at home, there were simply too many distractions. Everywhere I looked there was a chance I could focus on anything but my dissertation. So too, we can become distracted in the faith. We can seek out anything but what God is asking of us. We can make excuses for not helping others. We can seem too busy for prayer. But the message from the gospel is clear: there is nothing more important than following Jesus.

Matthew Kelly is on a Mission to Bring People Back to the Catholic Church

But to call this 44-year-old a successful entrepreneur, public speaker, and author is telling only part of his story. He’s a practical philosopher, too—many would say profound; a voice that guides millions of lives nationwide. In an era when thousands of people struggle to brand themselves as these things every day, he’s the real deal. The irony? He spends little time promoting himself; that, he would tell you, is not the point.

So nobody knows that he printed his 30 millionth book last October. Or that this year he’s on track to release three new titles (including Culture Guru, for business) and sell 5 million books more—a feat few other authors will accomplish. Or that, in 2018 alone, his 25th year as a published author and motivational speaker, he will address 225,000 people in person and another 1.3 million subscribers via inspirational videos—more than triple the number he addressed three years ago.

FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students)

Answering the Church’s call for a new evangelization, FOCUS is a national outreach that meets college students where they are and invites them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith. FOCUS missionary staff make an initial two-year commitment, starting in late May with summer training. Most of our missionaries have stayed on campus several years; others have gone on to explore religious life, get married, take another job, or enter graduate school. As FOCUS missionary you work as a team (typically two men and two women).

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It ends where it began. With Discipleship: Homily for the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Readings for Today

As we come to the end of the liturgical year, we end right where we began. Discipleship. This story has been used by authors like Sherry Weddell as the illustration of intentional discipleship. Andrew and Simon drop their nets and leave their old way of life. While they do not fully know where that will lead, they do know it will always be with Jesus.  They have turned over their lives to follow, and to emulate, this person of Jesus.

What do you make of your state of discipleship? Are you closer to Jesus, or are you further away? Do you know Jesus more clearly, or are you more distant in what you know? The good news is that even after his decision to become an intentional disciple, Andrew was not perfect.  Andrew did not always understand Jesus, and sometimes he made Jesus angry. As you reflect back upon this past year, where do you need Jesus in your life?

It ain’t all candy and roses: Homily for Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Readings for Today

Sometimes the Christian life is presented in such a way as to make it seem easy. Jesus is the kind teddy bear, and not only does he never demand anything of us, he makes all things feel good. While this type of feel good religion is tempting, Jesus never embraced such a religion. Persecution. Division. Not Peace. Conflict. Even Death. The life of one who follows the gospel is not automatically good. In fact, some would call the age we live in today the age of the martyrs, as Christians are being persecuted and killed all over the world.

The good news is that for people who have total trust in Jesus, like the widow a couple of days ago, the grace and love of God can see them through anything. Jesus mentions the difficulties so that we do not go into intentional discipleship blindly. Rather, he wants us to know that while it will not always be easy, we will also face whatever comes in the power of this relationship with Jesus.

Becoming Beautiful Grapes: Homily for Sunday, October 8, 2017

Readings for Today

My aunt and uncle had a vineyard behind their house.  It was not very big, but it produced tasty grapes.  I really liked them.  And while my childhood memory may not be great, I do not remember sour grapes. To be clear, there was care for the grapes that I did not see.  They required care.  They needed to be tended to in order to be tasty.

I cannot imagine what would have happened if in spite of the hard work there were no grapes to be had.  Or, worse, if despite hard work the grapes were sour. And yet that is what we hear in the readings.  Despite the loving self-gift of Jesus to save us, we do not always bear good fruit. We turn away.  We disrupt. And sometimes even, we kill.  The call today is to be the disciple that does not disrupt, but bears fruit.

Rosary as Contemplation: Homily for Saturday, October 7, 2017

Readings for Today

This feast has its roots in a battle.  As the story goes, the praying of the rosary led to victory.  That is why the original name of this day was Our Lady of Victory.  But as wonderful as the title is, I prefer the name the celebration has today: Our Lady of the Rosary.  Why?

The biggest reason is the way in which the rosary itself gets highlighted.  The rosary is such a powerful prayer of contemplation.  While it is true the victory of God is constant in the contemplation of the rosary, the connection to the events of our salvation, and to Jesus, seems clearer when compared to the rosary.

The rosary is the pathway to contemplation.  In its truest form, the rosary leads us to Jesus.  We reflect on his life, death and resurrection. The rosary also leads to discipleship. Just as the disciples responded to Jesus, Mary’s responded perfectly to God.  She too was sent.  She too was a devout follower of God.  Her constant yes is worthy of our imitation.

Trying to See Jesus: Homily for Thursday, September 28, 2017

Readings for Today

Today’s gospel in many ways is an initial stage of discipleship.  Herod is trying to figure out just who Jesus is.  Has John the Baptist been raised from the dead? One of the prophets? Herod is curious about Jesus.  This is the same Herod who felt some attraction to the words of Saint John the Baptist. We are told that Herod kept trying to see Jesus.

That may very well provide a goal for today.  Do you keep trying to see Jesus? Maybe you could spend a little time reading the bible.  Or maybe spending some time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Or perhaps it is finding silence, repeating a phrase, or praying a rosary.  Whatever you do, keep trying to see Jesus.