Rising to new life through accountability

| Deacon Gordon Bird | April 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Often said and forever true: Without the cross, there can be no resurrection. Without the Passion, there is no Easter. Without sacrifice — new life in Christ now and forever — the hope of the promise to come does not present itself.

That is our lot in the sacrificial life as Christians. And bearing this lot requires much prayer, the grace of God and a fellowship of accountability to help our hearts be steadfast in our faith journey.

The road to Easter glory, whether in the saintly or secular life, has never been portrayed to be an easy one. Yet Jesus taught us through the Gospels that with mourning comes comfort, with toil comes fruit and with the cross comes glory.

In the Christian life, this lot of taking up your cross and dying daily to self in order to join in Jesus’ rising takes — among many virtues — being men and women of courage and integrity. Courageous people of integrity are morally and ethically steadfast in faith, hope and love.

I’ll bet we all know and admire someone who remains intact and recollected through the times of suffering and healing, sorrows and joys. Whether it’s a trial, tribulation or triumph, these holy heroes are great witnesses of Christ that help encourage us. They keep the bar of accountability of our own behavioral lives as Catholics quite high.

To rise to new life daily is not easy — at least not for me. And this is why Christian relationships are so important. My family, my friends in Christ, and other colleagues and models of faith all keep me accountable during difficult times. The complementarity my wife brings to my faith life, which in turn, benefits the rest of the family — is incalculable. We are not meant to be alone, and indeed, as an antithesis to Cain, there are times when brothers and sisters need keepers.

That Catholic Watchmen takes its name from Scripture is not an accident. It encourages a culture of Christian relationships by igniting transparency and embracing accountability. This allows us to flourish even through the obstacles, continuing to rise up each day as people of God armed with integrity to give him glory, and to bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ — in either the simplicity or complexity of our lives.

At the recent 2019 Archdiocesan Catholic Men’s Conference, Bishop Andrew Cozzens emphasized in his workshop the merits of men meeting regularly to discuss and share their lives of faith, family, jobs, etc. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, view “Growing in Holiness through Small Brotherhood Groups” at thecatholicwatchmen.com. The intellect, the enthusiasm and the commonsensical nature of the bishop’s teaching on the value of men mentoring men and holding each other in the spirit of accountability are compelling and convincing.

Rising to new life as people of integrity through transparency and accountability can happen and is happening within or outside of the premises of our parishes. A brother in Christ recently commented to me that being accountable to his core brotherhood — a small group — allowed him to be transparent on life issues he would normally hold in. Accountability required an avenue for transparency, a vulnerability to open up to men of Christ he could trust, truly allowing for healing and yet providing a steadfastness to stay strong. Accountability to self and others is an imperative for men to live up to the duty to be sacrificial protectors, providers and leaders of family and parish.

We continue to learn throughout the Catholic Watchmen movement how important accountability is in building fraternity, evangelizing and arming men of integrity in regular fellowship gatherings. Of our seven disciplines as a brotherhood of Watchmen, this is the anchor that integrates in our lives a constant reminder of the daily, weekly and monthly practices to help us grow in holiness. This is because we are not meant to be alone.

This is why we commune and are in communion as a body of Christ. And yes, we all need encouragement and reinforcement.

As the great prophet proclaims what God will do — wielding us as his instruments: “I will go before you and level the mountains” (Is 45:2).

Deacon Bird ministers at St. Joseph in Rosemount and assists the Catholic Watchmen movement of the archdiocese’s Office of Evangelization. As a permanent deacon ordained in December 2017, he and his wife, DiAnn, are members of All Saints in Lakeville. They have two married children and four grandchildren. Reach him at gordonbird@rocketmail.com. Learn about the archdiocese’s Catholic Watchmen initiative at thecatholicwatchmen.com.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen