Kianna Garmanian, Staff Writer
“Dear Kianna, I have heard many times that we need to say ‘yes’ to Jesus and do his will. It’s easy to talk about following Christ, but how can I actually do this? What are practical steps I can take to ensure I am living the life Jesus wants me to live?” – Sincerely, Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Dear Actions, thank you for sending in this letter, as I am delighted to share some of my thoughts and advice. You are right- often, we are told to follow Christ, but what does this realistically look like in our lives? Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a young adult retreat that Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg led at the Archbishop Brunett Retreat Center (The Palisades) in Federal Way. The retreat was titled “Becoming an Ordinary Martyr,” and focused on how we are called to live as examples of Christ and surrender our lives fully to Him. Bishop Muggenborg talked about how we must surrender to Jesus, each and every day, in order to live out Christ’s mission for us.
To address your question, let’s first begin by understanding the meaning of our lives. At the root of our beings, we have been claimed by Christ. As D.H. Lawrence says in his quote “people are only free when they are doing what the deepest self-desires.” What does our deepest self desire? Christ. Our beings were made to be in communion and harmony with him. Therefore, eternal life with Christ Jesus is our ultimate goal, purpose, and destiny.
Knowing this, I will now expand on how we can fully surrender to the Lord in our daily lives.
I invite you to read this beautiful quote by Pope Francis: “Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, or sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out.”
In order to conform to Christ’s will and be attentive to the ways in which he leads us each day, we must spend time with him in prayer. It’s all about growing and nurturing our relationship with Christ, which is deepened and strengthened through our prayerful encounters and conversations with him. Much too often, I have gone about my days without truly setting aside time for Jesus. Yet, it is through prayer and silence that Christ speaks to us, draws us closer to him, and directs our paths. So, prayer is the first and most important step when it comes to surrendering to the Lord.
Bishop Mueggenborg explained to us the three steps that will allow us to conform our lives to Christ: pray, take action, and surrender to God. First and foremost, as I discussed earlier, prayer is crucial for the development and growth of our spiritual lives. Next, we must take action, which means using your gifts, services, and talents to bring about goodness in this world. In other words, offer to Christ all what you have been given. If you are physically able to serve others, offer your labor to Christ. If you are not physically able to serve him, offer all your prayers, thoughts, and intentions to Christ for the goodwill of others. Finally, make a definitive surrender to the Lord. The next time you pray, honestly and openly talk with Jesus and offer him your whole self (body, mind, and soul.) Allow Jesus to enter your heart and express your love and desire to follow him.
To all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray for one another. This life is tough and filled with many distractions. Let us not grow weary, trust in Jesus- trust in His unfailing love. Remember, Christ has already won. He has overcome all sin, evil, and death. Now, let us remember the power of Christ in us, who dwells in our hearts, and go spread his transformational love.