A disciple is someone who “adheres to the teachings of another.” As Catholics we adhere to the teachings of Jesus through the Catholic Church. We are His students. Christ desires for us to be like Him.
Our discipleship begins at our baptism when we enter into the covenant family of God, and continues to form at home. We learn from our parents what it means to be Catholic by going to Mass every Sunday, going to Confession on a regular basis, praying together as a family, and receiving the sacraments.
The way we worship [at Mass] is what structures our belief system as Catholics. For instance, if Mass is celebrated reverently we will learn to believe that the Eucharist is the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, and not just a symbol. How we worship in the liturgy resonates what we believe as Catholics. This is an important part of how our discipleship with Christ comes to fruition.
Does being a disciple of Christ mean you have to be an active participant, that you have to possibly make changes in your life?
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” – John 14:15
When you truly love our Lord and have an eagerness to be His disciple, you will follow His two Great Commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40) The ten commandments are summed up in these two. Christ instructs us to keep these two as the greatest acts of love we can offer to God and others.
As disciples we follow Jesus by obeying him through His commandments, and we also have to be willing to give Him everything we have. In the story of “The Rich Man” (Matthew 19:16-22) the man followed the commandments, but was unwilling to give up everything. He enjoyed his possessions. Does following Jesus mean we have to literally give up everything we own? No, you have to make a living to put food on the table and pay your bills, etc. If there is something that comes between you and God, then yes you must be wiling to give that up. Sometimes it helps to take inventory of all the external things you love and enjoy doing to see if they get in the way of going to Mass every Sunday or daily prayer. These can be the simplest of distractions. Eliminate distractions and you’re then able to focus on God.
Christ calls you and I to be disciples by ways of our baptism, but He also calls us to form others to become disciples too (i.e. devout Catholics) when He preached the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations. That means telling others about Jesus and His Catholic Church. You have to evangelize. Share the good news about why being Catholic is awesome. Your formation of being a faithful disciple never ends. There is plenty to discover about the Catholic Church in order to help you form disciples.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
Being a faithful Catholic and disciple is not easy. There will be adversity along the way. We live in a “me” culture that is very secular. You’ll run into opposition on important topics as abortion and same-sex “marriage.” Jesus never said being a disciple would be easy, but you will be rewarded in the end. “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14) As Catholics, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we shall endure. “If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:12-13)
“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” –St. Catherine of Sienna
by John Connor