"A clean heart create for him, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit." Psalm 51:12
"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
Renewal of Faith
Ultimately, the question is what does it take to be a disciple of Christ. The Infoplease dictionary (www.infoplease.com) defines a disciple as a student or follower of the teachings of another person. So, as Christian disciples we follow the teachings of Jesus. So, to be good disciples we need to study Jesus' teaching.
No one argues that we need to study our faith. But, unfortunately, many people think our religious education ends somewhere around the eighth grade. They are wrong. If we have truly learned all that we needed to know, then we would all do exactly as Jesus wants us to and never sin. We know that we make mistakes and we sin. So, we know we need to learn more.
The primary way that we learn about our faith is to listen to the homily at Mass. We also need to read from the Bible. We can choose to read other spiritual books about our Catholic beliefs. And, if our local parishes offer opportunities for adults, we need to take advantage of those opportunities.
Bible concordances list almost 300 citations of the word "disciple" in the Bible. Almost all of these are in the New Testament. The Gospel of Matthew uses the term almost 80 times. Most of these use the term to describe those who follow Jesus and assist him. This does not mean that only a few followers are to be disciples. Matthew's Gospel ends (28:19) with Jesus' commandment to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." It says all nations. All are called to be disciples of Christ. We become disciples in our baptism. We become better disciples by learning more about and practicing our faith.
Luke 14:25-33 speaks of the requirements of being a disciple. Nothing should be more important to us than Jesus. We need to love Jesus more than our families and much more than our possessions. If anything is more important than God to us, then that is what rules our lives.
To be a disciple:
For a reflection on how we discern click here.
If we are true disciples and embrace the Christian faith, we will work to grow in our own faith and the bring the faith to others. This is "Evangelization: A Call For All."