The Complete Christian: Introduction

Retreat Overview

Big companies are willing to pay big bucks for good branding. A good brand usually includes a visual logo, and a short tagline or motto that packs a punch.

Back in 1997, the British Broadcasting Company spent almost $2 million coming up with a new logo. In 2008, Pepsi spent $1 million for their new image. Also in 2008, British Petroleum spent $211 million to come up with a new logo and tagline. A What’s the big deal? Why are a good logo and a good tagline so valuable?
Because good branding is good communication; it’s the bridge between desires and decisions. Potential consumers have desires and needs. Companies have products that can satisfy those desires and needs.
The right logo and tagline can connect a consumer’s desire to a business’s product in an instant, moving the consumer to take action, to decide to buy the product. This principle has been at work in the Church, on a spiritual plane, since the earliest days of Christianity.
In the fifth century, for example, St. Benedict composed his famous rule for monks. And he gave his monastic community a motto: ora et labora, work and prayer — summing up in just three words the life mission of every Benedictine monk. That motto has been a guiding light for Benedictine orders for over a thousand years.
But it’s not just religious orders that choose mottos for spiritual focus and inspiration; individuals do too. Every bishop chooses a motto to guide their episcopal activity, and so do popes. And in this case too, the motto serves as a kind of personal brand, a bridge between the heartfelt desire to be a holy bishop and the day-to-day decisions that will fulfill or frustrate that desire.
For example, Blessed John XXIII chose the motto, Obedientia et Pax, obedience and peace. He longed to live the deep peace that Christ came to give us, and he knew that the path to that peace was obedience to God’s will.
If companies, religious orders, and bishops can leverage the power of a good motto, why can’t every Christian? Why can’t each one of us have a motto to keep our spiritual efforts focused, to inspire us, to help bridge our deepest desires and our daily decisions? I think we can, and I think we should. And in this Retreat Guide, The Complete Christian: A Retreat Guide on the Calling of the Twelve Apostles, I would like to propose one.
A: designing-their-logos-2012-8?op=1
It’s taken from the passage in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus chooses his Twelve Apostles. In that passage, the Gospel identifies three things that the first Apostles were chosen for, and in a certain sense, those same three things are a description of the complete Christian life that we are all called to live, the core elements of Christian discipleship.
The first element is prayer, which we will look at in the first meditation.
The second element is fellowship, which we will look at in the second meditation.
And the third element, which we will examine in the conference, is apostolate, or apostolic action.
If we put those three together, the motto would be: prayer, fellowship, apostolate. But it sounds a little better if we use verbs instead of nouns: to pray, to love, to give. And some would say that it sounds even better in Latin: Orare, amare, dare.
Before we dive in, take a few minutes to simply enjoy the Lord’s presence. You have reserved this time to spend with him, and he is eager to spend it with you. In the silence of your heart, renew your faith in him, ask him for what you need, and open your mind and soul to receive the grace he longs to give.

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