Many of history’s greatest journeys begins with a mix of reluctance and excitement. Reluctance because the traveler is comfortable but realizes the excitement of experiencing something betterAs we, the community of Sacred Heart begin a new journey, I want to take some time to share my heart with you about where Jesus is leading us. As a lifelong Catholic, who has worked at many parishes in many parts of the country, there is a common thread that I have experienced in the life of the faithful, we long for more.
There can be a sense that life is simply to be endured instead of being a gift. While there are times when we experience disappointments we’ve been told that there should be this underlining joy that graces us along the way. What has happened to our joy? What if the Church, through the person of Jesus Christ can offer us that joy?
Unfortunately for many of us, our experience of the church seems to be a series of hoops for us to jump through so we can attain mercy or achieve some Sacrament so we can go to heaven. We seem to live between events and come to Mass because we want to be good people. Jesus wants more for us than to live a life endured. He came that we might live “in its fullness.”
This is not as good as it gets.
The Parish Life Cycle
The world around us seems to move in cycles. The seasons of the earth, the seasons of the church, and the seasons of our lives ebb and flow. Our desire as a parish is to live a life as disciples in a cycle that lead us to a deeper relationship with Jesus. We all want to experience Jesus on a personal level. And the truth is, He wants to be more than someone we report to. He wants to be in relationship with us.
We have developed a plan, a process, but more importantly a cycle that will bring each of us closer to His Sacred Heart. This process is intentional. We call it the Parish Life Cycle. It’s not an abbreviated 12-step program or the work of self-help manuals, it’s a way to tap into the heart of Jesus. This Parish Life Cycle is meant to bring all of us where we want to be. Jesus wants our faith to be a participant in His life, faith isn’t a spectator sport. Are you willing to dive deeper, to see what life could hold?
We will go from searching to encountering Jesus, from that encounter to a heart-filled desire to truly have our hearts changed by a real conversion to Jesus. This change will bring us to a deeper place of spiritual growth as individuals and as a community. This growth will allow us to enter a deeper sense of the missionary mandate of the church. As we embrace our call to be disciples, our faith will call those who still search for Jesus to draw near.
For the next couple of weeks, we will be learning more about the Parish Life Cycle. We will learn how each step has a rich history in the Tradition of the Church and is rooted in Sacred Scripture. While the organization of this could be considered a new approach, none of the ideas presented in the Parish Life Cycle are new. I do invite you to pray and ask yourself the question, “why?” I also invite you to bring your questions to any of the Parish Staff or feel free to call or email me. I would be more than happy to sit down and meet with you individually to dive deeper into this process. Thank you for your openness.