Raising Disciples of Jesus in an Age of Millennial Narcissism - Fr. Mark Rutherford - IHM Talk Notes

Fr. Mark Rutherford was a new speaker last year at IHM National Catholic Parenting & Homeschool Conference and one of my favorites from 2016.  (And once again, just like last year, the devil got angry and wreacked havoc with my fonts and formatting...so I just hit "publish.") 

This year Father spoke about Raising Disciples of Jesus in an Age of Millennial Narcissism.

To hear this talk in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.

Here are my bullet notes:

·          *  Remarking that 40+ years ago Priests were revered and you saw that reflected in movies.

·         *  Today’s it’s like a return to early Roman culture, with paganism and negative voices…similar to the times of the early Church.

·         *  Then, disciples grabbed one another and taking each other to Jesus said, “I met someone amazing!”

·         *  It is our baptismal calling to bring others to Christ.

·         *  Catholics have the best teaching on discipleship…yet it is often untouched by leadership.  But Bishops are starting to read more about mission and evangelization.

·         *  What the Holy Spirit said about mission and evangelization has gone unheeded.

·         *  Why does the Church exist?  To evangelize (save souls)  

          *  JPII REDEMPTORIS MISSIO On the permanent validity of the Church's missionary mandate

·         *  Today there is a consumer mentality toward Mass…If I am challenged by what I hear and don’t like it….I’ll just go down the road where they serve it my way.

·         *  Who is to evangelize?  EVERY BAPTIZED CHRISTIAN. It is our deepest identity.

      19. It is within this overall perspective that the reality of the kingdom is understood. Certainly, the kingdom demands the promotion of human values, as well as those which can properly be called "evangelical," since they are intimately bound up with the "Good News." But this sort of promotion, which is at the heart of the Church, must not be detached from or opposed to other fundamental tasks, such as proclaiming Christ and his Gospel, and establishing and building up communities which make present and active within mankind the living image of the kingdom. One need not fear falling thereby into a form of "ecclesiocentrism." Pope Paul VI, who affirmed the existence of "a profound link between Christ, the Church and evangelization,"also said that the Church "is not an end unto herself, but rather is fervently concerned to be completely of Christ, in Christ and for Christ, as well as completely of men, among men and for men."
   *  The Catholic Church seeks to convert by proposing, NOT through coercion, the person of Jesus in His magnificent glory.  The Holy Spirit draws hearts, with the cords of His love by Divine Power.  

    46 -  The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith. Conversion is a gift of God, a work of the Blessed Trinity. It is the Spirit who opens people's hearts so that they can believe in Christ and "confess him'' (cf. 1 Cor 12:3); of those who draw near to him through faith Jesus says: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (Jn 6:44).   From the outset, conversion is expressed in faith which is total and radical, and which neither limits nor hinders God's gift. At the same time, it gives rise to a dynamic and lifelong process which demands a continual turning away from "life according to the flesh" to "life according to the Spirit" (cf. Rom 8:3-13). Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple.  The Church calls all people to this conversion, following the example of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Christ by "preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mk 1:4), as well as the example of Christ himself, who "after John was arrested,...came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of God and saying: 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel'" (Mk 1:14-15).

  *  CONVERSION.  TOTAL.  RADICAL. Yes to Christ and everything He has given to us. EVERY SOUL ON THE PLANET.

·         *  Eliminate comfort zones we create for ourselves…where I decide what is valuable and what is not.  Where I cross-examine God and if His Church is out of line with my feelings.  That thinking got us kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

·         *The Hebrew translation tells us Adam was elbow-to-elbow with Eve as she listened to the snake. Adam didn’t live up to his masculine identity.  He stood and watched.  He didn’t crush the snake or protect “this woman you gave me.”

·         *  Our motive in conversions should be authentic.  Inertia has set in.  Look at Europe. The majority do not KNOW the faith, Who the Eucharist is.

·         *  Accepting, becoming a disciple is acknowledging a saving Sovereignty
          *  Coffee, then pray 1st thing in the morning. “The average American is physically, biologically, psychologically and neurologically unable to do anything worthwhile before he has a cup of coffee.  And that goes for prayer too.  Even sisters in convents whose rules were written before electric percolators were developed would do well to update their procedures.  Let them have coffee before meditation.” – Fulton J. Sheen, The Priest Is Not His Own, emphasis added

·         *  Live so that Christ radiates off you.

·         *  What’s the message to effect conversion? 22. All the Evangelists, when they describe the risen Christ's meeting with his apostles, conclude with the "missionary mandate": "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,...and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:18-20; cf. Mk 16:15-18; Lk 24:46-49; Jn 20:21-23).

·         *  There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life and the kingdom of JESUS CHRIST is not proclaimed. His promises. The mystery. A person. When the disciples were doing their grabbing, the also said, “I think I found the Messiah!”

·         *  But, baby food before steak.  Milk before meat.  Introduce others to JESUS first.  And they will learn to love what He loves, the Church.

·         *  Eyes on heaven. First things first. KINGDOM.

·        *   The Catholic Church is not the Red Cross. That’s a charitable organization for the temporal needs…good stuff…but not our primary purpose, just means to fulfill our objective conversion to spiritual life, eternity.

·         *  Charity without Christ is like an egg without the yolk. We’ve reduced Christ to the Red Cross.

·        *   2011 Pope Benedict XVI said to young people that the key to fulfillment is Jesus Christ. Because they want fulfillment, yet they hold a job no longer than 3 years, if that. Millenials see themselves entitled to move up to the next things, that they “deserve” it. More altruism needed.

·         *  Many see Jesus as a spiritual guru with sayings to make us feel good.

·         *  Start evangelizing to Catholics, of minimalistic Christianity, not going to Church. CHR-Easters. They self-identify as Catholics but are not believers in what the Church teaches and believes. It is seen by their faith having very little impact in their life. It they are the standard…why would anyone want to be Catholic…like them.

·         *  The Eucharist is worth becoming Catholic!

·         *  In the 70s 91% of Ireland was Catholic, today now 18% and in some place just 2%.  TRAGIC. No babies…no going to Mass.  Not Catholic any longer.

·         *  NONE's generation

·         *  It begins with us.

Fr. Mark Rutherford was born and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and later in Ann Arbor. Fr. Mark grew up in a Catholic home with three brothers. He first heard and discerned a call to the priesthood at age 13 while participating in a Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conference in 1997. Growing up he attended both Catholic and public schools, and was homeschooled. He and his three brothers loved and played hockey for a large part of their lives, which for Fr. Mark gave way to sports like wrestling, boxing, and Tae Kwon Do.

From 2001-2005, Fr. Mark attended Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, majoring in both Theology and Philosophy, with a minor in classical languages. He was accepted as a seminarian of the Diocese of Lansing in the summer of 2005, and attended Sacred Heart Major Seminary from 2005-2009, earning the M. Div., S.T.B., and beginning the S.T.L. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Earl Boyea on June 13th, 2009, the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

He was then assigned as Parochial Vicar of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brighton from 2009-2012. In 2012, he was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Church of the Resurrection in Lansing from 2012-2014. In 2014, he is was assigned as Administrator of St. Mary Catholic Church and school in Williamston, and to study for the J.C.L. in Canon Law at Catholic University of America during the summers. He is currently Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church and school, serves on the Diocese of Lansing Education Board, and in his third year of studies in Canon Law. Hobbies: working out, boxing, mixed martial arts, and movies.

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