I bumped into a French winemaking term this week in my studies, a new word to add to my vocubulary: élevage. In viticulture, this term, literally means “to elevate” or “to raise up,” expressing the process of aging a wine once the grapes are pressed. The progression from fermentation to barrel and bottle, during which the shape and complexity of the wine forms, requires careful technique on the part of the winemaker, including barrel choices, filtering, and other aspects unknown to me at this time. Some winemakers compare this to raising children, a process which occurs over years of intentional care, during which we seek to elevate our children into maturity as adults. According to Wine Spectator, “Good winemaking decisions during élevage can help the juice achieve its full potential; bad decisions can leave it flawed.” In the same manner, good discipleship and spiritual formation decisions during élevage within the spiritual vineyard of the Church can help us achieve our full potential in Christ; bad decisions or neglect leave us immature and flawed.