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7801 Bay Branch Drive
The Woodlands, TX

Class Twelve

 

Class Twelve

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1.       As we heard in the General Session, we have to learn how to share and defend our Faith. We must pass on Christ to others. God wants us to be successful at bringing others to Him, and therefore He wants us to be good leaders. So, let's look at leadership: What is a leader? A leader is one who obtains followers. Sounds pretty basic, doesn't it? Think of some of the leaders you see and experience: What kind of leaders are they? From where do they get their authority? Many times, we can look at leaders and see some similar characteristics:

a.       They know their purpose.

b.       They know how to prioritize their actions.

c.        They are people of integrity.

d.       They are open to positive change and speak positively.

e.       They look at problem solving as win-win, not ones where someone comes out the loser.

f.        They take control of their attitudes and keep them positive.

g.       They exercise discipline and self-control.

h.       They bring out the best in others.

2.       Christ has chosen you to be a leader. You may not believe that, but when you were baptized, you were set apart for service and leadership. God calls you to be a leader. Although He is all powerful, God has chosen to give His love and salvation to us through others. (This is what is called the principle of mediation God shares everything with us, including bringing others to salvation). The big question we have is: According to Jesus, what does it mean to serve? Jesus tells us that leadership is not about power, but about service, about putting the needs of others ahead of your own wants.

3.       So, let's look at what it means to be a Christian leader. Christ shows us to be a Christian leader:

a.       You have an understanding of your purpose in life, with heaven and Christ as your goal;

b.       You bring out the best in others and help them achieve salvation, remembering that the most important person you can save is yourself.

c.        Your authority comes from Christ, not from a community or a people. Your ability to lead depends upon the strength of your relationship with Christ (Philippians 2:13).

d.       You lead to serve others, not for power nor to exalt yourself.

Service, for the Christian, is about imitating Jesus, not about gaining authority (Matthew 25:40; Mark 10:45).

4.       Now let's see what we can do to be good servant leaders:

a.       Invite others to church, to Mass and the youth meetings. Many won't even come unless you invite them.

b.       Make sure you are participating at Mass: Read the Mass Scriptures on your own before you come to Church. Show up early, give full responses, and sing out on the songs. Don't make Mass a spectator sport.

c.        Be willing to give your own testimony. A testimony is a verbal account of what Jesus has done in your life.

d.       Remember that when you are at school, you bring Christ to your fellow classmates. Make sure they know, simply by your actions, what your life is about.

5.       The actions of a servant leader also involve Stewardship and Social Justice. As a leader you are called to lead by example.  The calling that Christ gave you through your Baptism is one that touches you in every part of your life. For many people this is a turn-off, because they feel Christ and the Church are intruding on them. Yet Christ asks for even more: The reality about Christ is that His call always asks us to go deeper, and this includes giving back to Him not only our time, but our talents, and our money.

6.       Now, you may be asking, ‘Why does God need my money? Isn't He rich enough already?’ Good question, but the fact is that God is in need of nothing: He asks us to share our resources with each other. While sharing sounds like a kindergarten concept, it becomes more and more difficult to share as we get older because we have more and more 'toys' to play with, and we tend to want to keep them to ourselves. We have an obligation to take care of others for the simple reason that Christ is present in everyone, especially the poor (read Matthew 25:31-46).

7.       Now, let's look more closely at just exactly what Christ asks us to do. Many priests and pastors like to characterize it as:

a.       We give our time and talents: We share 10% of our time to the Church/poor, giving our talents for building up the Kingdom;

b.       We give our treasure: We share 10% of our income with the Church/poor.

In particular, the Church teaches us about the 'Works of Mercy', giving us directives about what we are to do with our time, talent and treasure. There are seven corporal (physical) Works of Mercy, and seven spiritual Works of Mercy.

 Corporal Works of Mercy:

Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Visit the imprisoned

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Bury the dead

Spiritual Works of Mercy:

Counsel the doubtful

Instruct the ignorant

Admonish sinners

Comfort the afflicted

Forgive offenses

Bear wrongs patiently

Pray for the living and the dead

 

If we use the ‘Works of Mercy’ as our guide, we will be able to fulfill Christ's call to serve Him in others.

1.       One of the things that Christ is and will be asking you is 'What are you going to do with your life?' This is an important question, because it deals with the topic of 'Vocation'. A vocation is not just your future occupation, but is your calling from God to the service of the Church and the world. Traditionally, the Church has identified three vocations:

a.       Holy Orders: Where a man is ordained for Sacramental ministry in the Church;

b.       Religious Life: Where a man or woman takes vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; joins a religious community and takes part in their apostolate, or ministry;

c.        Laity: Married or single men and women whose primary responsibilities including raising a family and/or bringing Christ to the world.

2.       Although the actual choosing of your vocation is still far away, you have options today that will help you come to understand God's call in your life. Remember that a goal without a plan is a hallucination: If you don't keep the end/goal in mind, you may never reach it. So, you have to begin to take some steps, even if that means changing along the way. God sets us on a plan, but we have to work with Him. God is counting on us to work out our salvation. We must be ready to do whatever He asks (John 2), we must be ready to change if need be. Work on surrendering every part of your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Many people struggle with giving Christ complete control, and nothing will prepare you better for your vocation than to learn how to give Christ control of your life. The fundamental question you have to look at is, ‘Are you open to God's call in your life?’

3.       How will you get to eternal life? God has a plan for you, a plan that takes your participation with Him. Above all else, He wants you to surrender every part of your life to Him. Your surrender will be seen above all in the vocation you choose, the permanent life-long commitment(s) you make, either to married life, the single life, religious life, or Holy Orders.

In order to put yourself on a plan of life, you must learn how to surrender every part of your life to Him.

a. Spiritual: This is the most important part of your life, and must set the direction for every other part. It includes daily prayer, participation at Mass, seeing God in everything you do at all times of your day. It includes avoiding sin and serving others. It is motivated by a burning desire to be in love with God above all else.

b. Emotional: While emotions are an important part of who we are, we can make the decision to use them to make holy decisions, or we can use them to make bad decisions. Many times we let our emotions dictate what we do or do not do. Don't give yourself away too quickly: Don't be a needy person. Don't worry about what other people think of yourself.

c. Physical: God is very much interested in our physical well-being: God made everything about us, including our bodies, and He made them holy. Exercise regularly and consistently, eat a well-balanced diet, strive for purity in heart, mind and body. It is key that we watch what we put into our minds, that we root out garbage and only put in what is pleasing to God.

d. Relational: God is counting on you to spread His love to everyone you meet. So make it a habit to meet new people regularly, resolve conflict openly and honestly, avoid gossip and speaking negative about others or yourself. Fellowship and associate with Godly people, avoiding close friendships with those holding different values.

e. Intellectual: Do all you can to know more about Christ, His Church, and the teachings of the Church. Don't be a stupid Catholic! Study the Scriptures and Catechism on a regular basis, for by doing so you will deepen your relationship with Christ. Work hard at your studies at school, and consecrate your work to the Lord.

f. Financial: Every penny that you earn or that has been given to you is a gift from God. Therefore, strive to give back to Him with the same generosity He has given you. Make it a practice to tithe (offer 10 percent) of your earnings to the work of the Church. Don't let the desire for material possessions rule your life: Make it a point to only buy what you can afford and stay out of debt.

g. Attitude: God wants you to spread joy and happiness to everyone you meet, especially those that irritate you. Have no fear in Christ, and be willing to risk in love to do whatever He asks of you. Be disciplined in everything you do. Never return negative to harm done to you.

h. Vocational: The sign of your commitment to Christ will be measured by the way you make life-long commitments. Are you a person of commitment? Make commitment one of your highest values. Let your reputation be that of a person of unwavering commitment and fidelity.

 
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