When I was preparing this reflection I was thinking of how
to tie our theme of “Welcome Him” in with what we have
heard this past year on discipleship. I started out with what
I thought was a nifty little reflection on the story of the

Epiphany as an example of how our readings each week-
end lead me to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is.

As I originally wrote it, the phrase ended with “. . . and how
Jesus fits into my life.” It stopped me cold. It suddenly
seemed to me that finding where “Jesus fits” is not exactly
the kind of whole-hearted welcoming that I should be
offering to Jesus as someone who is supposed to be a
disciple.

But I guess that has always been a bit of a challenge for
me. God gifted me with an analytical mind, and I have, for
a long time, looked to our weekend gospel readings to
understand Jesus. It has also helped—a lot!—that I have
heard some really great homilies over the years. Those
homilies have helped me dive even deeper. But I slowly
began to learn that “understanding” Jesus is not enough.
By keeping my faith in my head, it is way too easy for me
to put Jesus in an intellectual corner and leave him there!
I’m pretty sure that is not how a true disciple does it. Like
the “men from the east” that we here about in the gospel
reading on Epiphany, a disciple is more of an “all in” kind
of person.

And I am working on that. Two things have helped:
relationships with like-hearted people and prayer.

I have found my “like-hearted people” here in the Quad
parishes. I have been blessed with a group of friends with
whom I can laugh, cry, discuss just about anything with, &
who encourage me to open my life to grow in faith & love.

Prayer helps me get out of my head and into my heart.
We have a rich source of written prayers in our Catholic
faith, but at least part of my faith journey has been to learn
how to just talk with God. And more importantly, how to
listen. Some years ago, I was talking with a friend about
how difficult I found it to just listen when I prayed. My
friend was a great lover of the rosary, and was always
working on a novena or two. She said that she would be
afraid to try a prayer form where she had to listen because
she was afraid that Jesus might ask her to do something
she didn’t think she could do. I thought it was a wonderful
insight for her at the time, but I’m also pretty sure it applies
to me too. I’m guessing it applies to all of us in one way or
another.

When we welcome someone into our life, be they new
family members, new friends, new co-workers, or the
friend that becomes a spouse, our lives change. When
we welcome Jesus into our life, our lives change. I know
mine has. I had, and still have, the same fear voiced by
my friend in Illinois—what if Jesus asks me something I
don’t think I can do? So far, as I continue to hang out with
my like-hearted friends, listen to readings, good homilies,
and pluck up the courage to listen in prayer, I find it a little
easier each time to welcome Jesus into my whole life. I
guess that’s how it works as I slowly grow into a disciple.
How is it working for you?

Pat Dennison, St. Joseph Parishioner