COLORADO SPRINGS. Popular Catholic evangelist, speaker, and “Real Life Catholic” founder Chris Stefanick visited Colorado Springs and exhorted a sell-out crowd of 800 people at Holy Apostles to live their faith more vibrantly.
Stefanick’s talk, titled “Reboot Live!” was fast-paced and filled with humor, energy and quotable one-liners packed with wisdom and encouragement to “live the life you were made for.”
Stefanick, a husband and father of six children, illustrated many of his points about Catholicism with funny and touching anecdotes from his own life. Especially emphasizing the immense love a father has for his children, he challenged the view many people have of God as a harsh and demanding ogre.
“‘What if God’s a jerk?’ so many seem to be asking. No, the light of faith shows us who he is: Love,” Stefanick said.
“We are in the midst of a love story,” Stefanick emphasized. The love story has sadly been lost to most Catholics, who have come “to perceive Catholicism as a to-do list and set of rules.” Instead we need to remember the love story, which is the fact that “you’re kind of a big deal — God had you in mind before the Big Bang!”
“We’re made by God, for God. But we turned away, we rejected him, and now we’re broken,” he said.
God’s answer to this brokenness is the Good News, expressed succinctly in the Gospel passage John 3:16, paraphrased by Stefanick as “God so loved you that he entered space and time to save you!”
Instead of rejoicing in this good news, Catholics tend to take Jesus for granted and treat their faith “like a trinket” rather than a life-changing truth.
Stefanick pointed out that the first disciples were willing to die for the truth of the Resurrection rather than deny it.
“The culmination of the love story is that while we were still sinners, he died for us. In the scales of a father’s love, one kid outweighs everything . . . sometimes it’s hard to accept that much love!”
In this love story, God gives his children everything and he wants everything back — but “love that’s real doesn’t force itself on you,” Stefanick said. He encouraged the audience to “stop complicating the ‘everything’ of our faith.”
“Say yes to the new life Jesus Christ is offering you for free,” he said. Stefanick then concluded the first half of his presentation by inviting everyone to respond to the good news with a prayer of commitment to Jesus Christ.
In the second half of his presentation, Stefanick noted that with any love relationship, eventually there is “a slow forgetting about what matters most.” The antidote is to keep one’s priorities in order through the power of daily habits. Stefanick proposed five habits to become more fully alive in Christ.
The habits start with loving oneself, which includes self-care and being conscious of how one speaks to oneself.
“Make every thought obedient to Christ: I’m blessed, I’m beautiful, I’m a child of God.” Also included is taking care of our basic physical needs rather than neglecting ourselves.
The second habit is prayer, including Sunday Mass, as well as taking time every day to speak to God. “You’re a child entering into the presence of your dad,” Stefanick said.
The third habit is to share the faith, which Stefanick calls a “mandatory part of being Christian.” He compared not sharing it to the Dead Sea, which is spiritually stagnant, versus the fresh flowing waters of the Sea of Galilee.
Fourthly, Christians must cultivate friendships for their own and others’ spiritual support.
The fifth and final habit is “rebooting,” which means both not dwelling on past hurts and facing up to one’s sins and asking for forgiveness.
Among those attending were St. Gabriel Parish’s Y Disciple group, youth from Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs, several from St. Francis of Assisi and Our Lady of the Pines parishes, and even a group who traveled from Capulin, located three hours southwest of Colorado Springs.
Heidi from Green Mountain Falls and her son came based on a recommendation from Heidi’s mother, who attended Stefanick’s presentation in Buena Vista in January. Amanda came from Pueblo because she has followed Stefanick on Facebook for many years. Theresa came to hear him speak based on the short promotional video that was shown Easter Sunday at Holy Apostles.
At a Reboot reunion for Holy Apostles parishioners, Father Jim Baron invited people to share their feedback from the talk. Several women mentioned that Stefanick’s message about the importance of loving oneself hit home.
“A mother puts everyone else first and neglects her own needs, but it is not a luxury item to take care of oneself,” one woman said.
Another person said Stefanick helped her to encourage her own granddaughter to remember her beauty and worth.
At the reunion, Father Baron also introduced a few new opportunities for building up community and friendship at the parish, including the new “Awaken” Night of Worship (see story below), outdoor movie nights this summer, and Men’s and Women’s Life Groups that will start later this year.
Stefanick will be speaking at St. Peter Parish in Monument on Sept. 19 from 7-9:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at http://www.petertherock.org/reboot-september-2018.html. For more information about Real Life Catholic, visit http://reallifecatholic.com.