The biblical idea of a disciple means more than simply learning the teachings of a teacher; it has meant modeling oneself after His example and growing more like Him every day. Edward Sri’s new book reminds readers of what that kind of discipleship means: to be a Christian requires more than an assent to a set of doctrines, but a commitment to imitate Christ and allow oneself to be transformed into His likeness. This marvelous book provides a gut check and blueprint even for practicing Catholics to ensure they live that baptismal call to discipleship as fully as possible.
Ignatius Press, 2016
190 pages, paperback $16.95
In an age in which preference has replaced morality, many people find it difficult to speak the truth. They’re afraid of the reactions they will receive if they say something is right or wrong. Using engaging stories and personal experience, Sri helps readers understand the classical view of morality, and he equips us to engage relativism, appealing to both the head and the heart.
Subtitled Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love, the book teaches how Catholic morality is all about love, why making a judgment is not judging a person’s soul, and why, in the words of Pope Francis, “relativism wounds people.”
EDWARD SRI captures Pope Francis’ joy-filled essence in his latest book . . .
In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis invites “all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ.” Drawing on that wisdom, Sri writes that Christ’s call to each of us is as powerful as the moment Caravaggio captured in “The Call of St. Matthew.” Jesus points, he invites — and Matthew must decide.
In his book, subtitled Rediscovering the Heart of a Disciple, Sri unpacks Evangelii Gaudium, making it accessible and actionable. Great for use by individuals or groups, each chapter concludes with questions for reflection or discussion.
Legatus’ newest chapter becomes the second for the Rocky Mountain State . . .
Legatus’ Colorado Springs Chapter became the state’s second chartered chapter during a ceremony and Mass on May 4 at St. Paul Church. Launched in 2007, the chapter has grown to include 21 business leaders and their spouses. Among them are owners of car dealerships, construction companies and cattle ranches.
Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan celebrated the Mass, together with chapter chaplain Monsignor Bob Jaeger, diocesan vicar general and pastor of St. Paul, and Fr. Larry Brennan, diocesan director of continuing formation.
During his homily, Bishop Sheridan talked about the Gospel reading (Jn 14:27-31), where Christ leaves his peace with his disciples — a peace not from the world but rather a divine peace. He said this distinction is important when discerning Christ’s message of peace in a world full of crime, war and other chaos.
Bishop Sheridan said that peace comes with what St. Augustine calls “tranquility of order.”
“We confront situations that sometimes seem to have no order,” he said. “You know the business world is not always an orderly world. The order we seek is a right order with God. When we live in his grace, practice charity, seek and work for justice, there is serenity, tranquility and peace — even amid some intense sufferings.”
Bishop Sheridan called on members to be agents of peace through charity and justice.
“The fruit if charity is peace. The fruit of the justice of God is peace. That can belong to every one of us, and it can make a difference in the world,” he said. “We ought not to be discouraged that we don’t have this peace Christ offers to us … we do have it. We need to live it and share it with others.”
After Communion, the chapter’s charter officers were presented: Mike Faricy (president), Paul Sprehe (vice president), Greg Papineau (treasurer), Art and Katheleen Nutter (membership chairs) and Randy and Missy Cloud (program chairs).
Each of the chapter’s charter members were then greeted by Faricy, Bishop Sheridan, Monsignor Jaeger and Legatus founder Tom Monaghan — who gave them a Legatus pin and a signed copy of his autobiography, Pizza Tiger.
After Mass, members transitioned to The Broadmoor Golf Club for dinner. Ted Sri, professor of theology and scripture at Denver’s Augustine Institute, spoke to members on “Praying the Rosary Like Never Before.”
Sri lauded the Legatus members for making the rosary an important part of their mission. He urged them to read Pope John Paul II’s 2002 letter on the rosary, which introduced the Luminous mysteries. He challenged members to persevere when praying the rosary and not to worry about not being focused the entire time. He likened it to a parent who receives a drawing from their child.
“A good intention still gives glory to God,” he said. “Our Father doesn’t see just the scribbles, He sees our heart. Satan wants us to feel discouraged when praying the rosary. He knows how powerful it is.”
The evening came to a close with comments from Monaghan and Legatus’ executive director John Hunt who pointed out the significance of being Legatus’ newest chapter. He recalled visiting the diocese last year to determine whether or not the Colorado Springs group was ready to be chartered.
“I sensed a real enthusiasm for making this happen,” said Hunt, acknowledging Faricy’s efforts as well as the chapter’s two chaplains in its brief history — Monsignor Jaeger and Fr. Mark Pranaitis. “A chartering event is a special time of joy. All of the Legatus chapters are with you tonight.”
Monaghan gave a brief history of Legatus which he said isn’t a project-driven apostolate, but rather offers a unique environment for business leaders to grow in their faith.
“We take people like you, proven leaders in your community who meet the payroll, bring them together and become better Catholics,” he said.
Monaghan said he’s frequently moved by “how some people’s faith are enlivened by being part of Legatus.”
Before Monsignor Jaeger closed the evening with prayer, Faricy reminded the charter members one more time of Legatus’ spiritual mission.
“We’re here to get to heaven and take as many people as we can with us,” he said.
Bill Howard is the Colorado Catholic Herald’s editor. An abridged version of this article appeared in the July/August issue of Legatus Magazine.
Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that evangelization should teach ‘the art of living’ . . .
In an address to catechists and educators in the Jubilee Year 2000, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that the New Evangelization entails more than proclaiming doctrines and moral truths. More fundamentally, it is teaching what he calls “the art of living.”
“How does one learn the art of living? Which is the path toward happiness? To evangelize means to show this path — to teach the art of living,” he says.
Living well isn’t easy. It requires many skills that are learned like an art form. Indeed, to find fulfillment in life’s most fundamental relationships (marriage, parenting, friendship, relationship with God), one must have an array of virtues such as patience, generosity, self-control and charity. For hundreds of years, men and women learned the art of living from a Christian culture that handed on the wisdom of how to live a happy life from one generation to the next.
But our de-Christianized, relativistic, “anything goes” society has cut itself off from this tradition. And Ratzinger is concerned that the essential values to live a happy life are no longer being passed on. Young people might learn how to succeed in a job, but they aren’t trained in the basics of how to build a successful marriage. We might learn how to invest our money wisely, but we’re unsure how to raise our children in the faith. Ratzinger says our relationships are stunted by the inability to possess joy and love:
“The deepest [human] poverty is the inability of joy, the tediousness of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today, in very different forms in the materially rich as well as the poor countries. The inability of joy presupposes and produces the inability to love, produces jealousy, avarice — all defects that devastate the life of individuals and of the world. This is why we are in need of a new evangelization — if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works.”
But how can the art of living be made known today? How can the Church make its voice heard in our relativistic world?
Ratzinger says we must make use of modern methods of communication. He underscores, however, that the New Evangelization will be carried out even more by the witness of Christians who embody a new way of life — Christians who question the mainstream and choose “not to live as all the others live, not to do what all do, not to feel justified in dubious, ambiguous, evil actions just because others do the same.” Christians who “look for a new style of life” different from what the world offers will illuminate the true path to happiness.
The fruit of the New Evangelization, however, won’t be seen quickly. Ratzinger warns of the temptation of impatience. The Roman Empire was not converted quickly, but over time and through small Christian communities. Even though the Christians were insignificant according to the standards of the world, they proved to be like leaven that eventually permeated the whole empire (Mt 13:33).
“New evangelization cannot mean immediately attracting the large masses that have distanced themselves from the Church by using new and more refined methods,” Ratzinger says. Instead, “it means to dare, once again and with the humility of the small grain, to leave up to God the when and how it will grow (Mk 4:26-29).”
The name that Cardinal Ratzinger chose for his pontificate points in this direction. In a book-length interview published in 1997 as Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium, Ratzinger turns to St. Benedict as a model for the kind of renewal that the world needs today. In late antiquity, just as the decadent Roman Empire was starting to collapse on itself, a young Roman nobleman named Benedict abandoned the mainstream ways of living. Though escaping the notice of most people in his time, St. Benedict and the monastic communities he founded carried the Gospel through difficult times and attracted many others to a better way of life. Benedict’s small movement eventually became what Ratzinger calls “the ark on which the West survived.”
Similarly, the Church today is entering a new era which will be characterized by the mustard seed — small groups that seem to have little significance in the world, Ratzinger says. But these small groups of Christians who, like St. Benedict, depart from the secular, individualistic patterns of living pave the way for new models of life in our morally chaotic society.
“There are Christians who drop out of this strange consensus of modern existence, who attempt new forms of life,” he says in Salt and Light. “To be sure, they don’t receive any public notice, but they are doing something that really points to the future.” For the Holy Father, the New Evangelization will be carried out in a particular way through new movements, families and other small Christian communities who, like those followers of St. Benedict, will be the seemingly insignificant mustard seed that eventually transforms the culture.
Edward P. Sri, STD, is provost and professor of theology and scripture at the Augustine Institute in Denver. The author of two Catholic best-selling books, he is a founding leader of Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and often speaks to Legatus chapters.