By Rachel Noel/Freelance Writer, OND
Thief River Falls, Minn -- On April 18, more than 800 people filled St. Bernard, Thief River Falls, to witness “Reboot! Live!”, an event featuring internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, author, and founder of Real Life Catholic, Chris Stefanick. Stefanick is the man behind the movement to reignite a contagious conviction in the heart of every Catholic, and to spread the Gospel throughout a country which he feels has largely forgotten the Word of God. His life-changing media reaches more than 1 million people every month.
“Pope Francis recently said, ‘We are in the middle of a love story. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is,’” Stefanick began. “We’re here tonight to remember the love story so that we can be better Christians and so that we can live a better life. When you know your life is part of a love story written by the hand of God, then and only then can you have a peace that doesn’t depend on people, a joy that doesn’t come from your circumstances, and a hope that not even death can take away. Nothing can give you that except the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So why are you looking anywhere else?”
Throughout his presentation, Stefanick dissected the Word of God and connected it to everyday challenges and experiences with ease. He touched on spirituality, dating, marriage, parenting, health, illness, death, and eternal life.
“Who matters to you more than your spouse? Do you take them out to dinner and tell them that? Who matters to you more than your kids? Do you ask how their day was and then listen for the answer? And what could be more important than our faith? The most profound things in our lives just fade away when we don’t act like they matter,” he said.
Stefanick indicated that a heartbreaking 80 percent of young people stop practicing their faith before age 23.
“Most people who leave their faith, it wasn’t this radical decision. It just faded away,” he said.
He stressed five crucial habits of holy people that have been proven to change lives and redirect Catholics who may have forgotten the love story: love yourself, pray, share your faith with others, friendship, and reboot.
“Rebooting means making a clean break from the things that keep you from being the person you know you’re supposed to be. The only person with the power to hold the past over your head is you. God is inviting you to start over every day, and he offers you the power to do it through confession. We need to replace the negative thoughts we have about ourselves with the truth, which is: I’m blessed, I’m beautiful, I’m chosen, I am a child of God. The Holy Spirit is an advocate who wants to set you free,” Stefanick said.
A reoccurring theme in Stefanick’s dialogue was self-forgiveness. He encouraged all present to “re-write your name and re-route your life”.
“Pope John Paul II said, ‘You are not who they say you are, so let me remind you who you are.’ That love that created space and time, that love that we’re born to find is all around us, offering everything to us and asking us to give absolutely everything in return. And the gift of love that God gives you as he asks for your own heart in return is free, and you don’t have to have it all together to enter that love. That is the love that defines you. That is the love that tells the story of your life,” Stefanick explained.
Stefanick highlighted several examples throughout history wherein both Saints and laypeople changed lives through actively sharing their Catholic faith.
“Back in the 1980s when AIDS broke out, it was a terrifying time. Some thought that by being sneezed on you might get the AIDS virus. In that climate of terror and fear, Mother Teresa started the first AIDS hospice in New York City. Before anybody else was there, the Catholic Church was there…because we don’t have to agree with everybody to love everyone and share the love of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Stefanick has been enthusiastically evangelizing hearts worldwide through his “Reboot! Live!” production which reaches more than 85,000 people per year, and his message to the audience at St. Bernard’s was clear: “You and I weren’t made for an ordinary life. We were made for an eternal life.”
For more information on Stefanick’s ministry, visit www.reallifecatholic.com.