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The stewardship of discipleship might start with a simple invitation

My brother Mike’s favorite movie is "Shawshank Redemption." One day he learned that my husband and I had never seen it.

"You have to see it!" he encouraged every time we were together. As years went by, he became kindly annoyed. He could not believe we wouldn’t take the time to watch this movie he loved.

 

One day the movie showed up in our mailbox, sent by Mike from California, with a clear mandate to watch it. We did and were converted to fervent "Shawshank" fans.

Those who love their faith, who have been inspired by a parish community and comforted, carried and fortified by God’s love, want everyone around them to experience it, too. And we wish we could just package it up in an A2 envelope, send it off and say, "Watch this! Believe this! You’ll love it!" But we know it is not that simple.

God gave us the gift of our faith. For many, it has been nurtured by ongoing formation and education and by those in our lives who have helped us to know Jesus. These beautiful experiences and witnesses of faith are the seeds that germinate throughout our lives.

But for some this is not enough. Those seeds never existed or have expired. Last week, Dominick Albano from Dynamic Catholic was the featured speaker at the Catholic Professional & Business Club’s Leading with Faith Awards luncheon. He shared his faith story.

Although baptized Catholic, his parents’ divorce disrupted his spiritual growth as a child. It wasn’t until he was in high school and a classmate invited him to his home to hang out with a few friends on a Friday night that the tide started to turn.

Dominick began to spend more time with his new friend, Paul, and his family. He witnessed their Catholic faith alive through daily prayer and regular Mass attendance, but, most important, through the love they showed one another, and very quickly to Dominick, too. This love was real and life-giving to him.

Then Paul invited Dominick to join him on a retreat. By that point, Dominick saw the impact faith had on this family and how it manifested in the love and care of others. Dominick said yes, and on this retreat, he came to know God’s love.

We can be amazing witnesses to our faith, inspiring people to say, "Yes, I want that." But many, like Dominick, need an invitation and someone to walk with them on the next step to knowing Jesus.

When I heard, this story, I thought, OK, if a high school boy can ask another high school boy to join him on a retreat, this 50-something-year-old can invite someone who needs that extra support to join her for a retreat, spiritual program or conversation.

Being a steward is to share the Good News. And it doesn’t always fit in an A2 envelope with encouraging instructions. Let us be the disciples who offer to walk with others so they also can know God’s love and the joy and hope of living a life of faith.

 

Shannan Brommer is director of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development. Contact her at smbrommer@archomaha.org.

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