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Vision: To Foster Catholic Men's Spirituality in Chicago Southland
Taking Life Seriously 
By Bishop Joseph N Perry
We hear a lot these days about “intentional discipleship” from preachers, motivational speakers and writers about what it takes to be real Christians in these times. These message bearers warn us about the increasing secularism of American life, namely, that the modern mind-set is intent on pushing away

a religious tone to life as evidenced in state and federal legislation that advances certain rights and freedoms beyond that which the scriptures would countenance, or the lifestyles of people we know and love seem to be absent a genuine fear of the Lord.  Then, there are the reports of decreasing numbers attending church or synagogue or mosque. We Americans believe in God to large percentage even though our actions may not always clearly represent that belief.  Many folks get along quite well in our society while keeping God at a distance.


We are aware, as strident Christians have always been aware, these two thousand years and counting, that the popular culture presses up against us in ways religious belief and lifestyle cannot endorse. We are faced daily with choices and decisions none too easy to make.  Political and religious leadership sometimes do not help to model us citizens vis-à-vis their decisions and law making and lifestyles. Even our children and grandchildren make choices opposite the way we have reared them. The popular culture deals us much that is attractive but not all of it is wholesome or morally good.  Two thousand years and counting Christians have come to understand that there are certain things we can never do and certain things we can never be simply because we love and admire Jesus Christ. What to do when one or the other dilemma hits us?  Pray fervently and daily, certainly, and be good and fervent examples quietly and humbly to others especially our children and youth.  In the meantime:


Intentional discipleship means we take the message of Jesus Christ seriously and apply it to our lives to the best of our ability without equivocation while encouraging others to do the same. This is evangelization. We stake our lives on the gospel vision of life. We have lived the gospel all our lives and find consolation in its truth.  We are so convinced of this we had our children baptized in this faith for starters. We practice this faith day-in and day-out.  The vision and message of Jesus Christ shows itself in our homes, the way we live, the way we spend our money and give some of it away, the way we assess and comment on and react to current events, certain ones indeed tragic. Gospel truth shows itself in our devotion to our spouse and children, our charity and forgiveness of others, our managerial relationship and just dealings with others, our regard for our neighbor, our respect for the stranger, our choices at the ballot box and the counsel and advice we give others.


Indeed, nothing is worthwhile unless we do it intentionally and with fervor as upright Christians with our eyes on His Word. This is the manner in which Jesus lived and died for us.  It is the only way his disciples can live authentically His legacy.



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