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The Freedom Summer Offers

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This Month’s Chaplain’s Report 
Faith Formation Program
Father Jonathan D. Kalisch, O.P.
Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development


During the summer vacation season, many of us have to try harder to be men of faith. There are the usual distractions of summer, the vices we fall into because of sloth, absentmindedness and, perhaps, the irregular example of those around us. Father Luigi Giussani, founder of the lay movement Communion and Liberation, recognized this tension, as well as the freedom summer offers. He wrote: “Vacation time is the noblest time of the year, because it is the moment when one becomes as involved as he likes in the value he recognizes as dominant for his life, or he doesn’t get involved in anything at all, and then he is, as I said, a fool.”
 Another way to describe this is to make a distinction between discipleship and non-discipleship Christianity. Those who practice non-discipleship Christianity do not ask others about their faith and do not tell about their own. Such behavior accepts casual Christianity as normal and leaves the making of disciples for the “super-saints.” It hides behind an individualism that protects one’s accountability. Such persons never make personal demands nor focus on taking up the cross, because the Lord has never truly become the God of their life.
 Transformational discipleship seeks to follow the Lord daily, even on vacation. As George MacDonald said, “Instead of asking whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because he said, ‘Do it,’ or once abstained because he said, ‘Do not do it.’ It is simply absurd to say you believe in him if you do not do anything he tells you.” The true disciple seeks to eliminate any obstacle that blocks his yes to God and sets aside competing priorities to follow the Lord. This means uniting oneself to Christ in a very real way. C.S. Lewis wrote: “There’s no way one should throw out a good bottle of port and the cigars! We don’t need to suffer without purpose. When Jesus said, ‘he must deny himself,’ he was asking for something very specific.”
 As our brother Knights embrace this noble time of life, can we assist them in pondering what they desire to give themselves to during the freedom of vacation? Can we ask them to see where they are increasing their capacity for gratuitousness, mercy, generosity and love? Can we encourage them to embrace true discipleship and grow as men of prayer, friendship, truthfulness, dedication and compassion? Can we explain to each of them that the way they respond to the freedom of summer reflects the men they are and whose disciple they each have become?

Vivat Jesus!


Fr. Jonathan D. Kalisch, O.P.
Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development
(203) 752-4115