Being a Disciple
Bishop Patrick some months ago outlined three themes for the spiritual development of the diocese over the next three years. They are Encounter, Discipleship and Missionary Discipleship. We considered the first theme of Encounter (spending time with Christ) in Advent, and during Lent we take a look at Discipleship. Here are some extracts from his Pastoral Letter last weekend for us to ponder:
“… it’s as a consequence of time spent with Jesus in personal prayer, Eucharistic Adoration or reading the Scriptures, that we come to discover more and more, both who He is and what He is asking of each of us; how He invites us to follow in His footsteps, to be His disciples… St Teresa of Avila expressed this very simply and beautifully when she said: ‘Christ has no body on earth now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on the world; yours are the feet with which He walks to do good; yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.’ So, a disciple is someone who wishes not only to grow in their relationship with Christ, but also to be used by Christ as a way in which His love, care, compassion, healing, blessing and forgiveness can be shared with others.”
“Secondly, a disciple is also someone who, through prayer, knows that that they often fall short of what Christ wants for them. The Season of Lent is a grace-filled time of renewal; we begin on Ash Wednesday with the invitation to ‘Repent and believe the Gospel’, and throughout Lent we are encouraged to acknowledge that there are things in all of our lives that we need to let go of, because they prevent us from being the disciple that Christ is calling each of us to be. So disciples of Christ are grateful recipients of God’s merciful forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that they in turn may become instruments of that mercy and forgiveness to others. Please, especially if you haven’t been for a while, do make use of the opportunities this Lent provides to make a good Confession.”
“Thirdly, Christ is actually calling all His disciples to holiness of life, in and through the daily circumstances of our lives; to open our hearts and lives more and more to God, who alone is holy and so is the source of holiness: ‘Be holy for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11: 44).”
May this Lent be a time of special grace for each of us and our Parish, and may we all be open to what Our Lord is asking of us. The high point of our year is our celebration of His Death and Resurrection during Holy Week. Let us prepare well by dying to sinful ways and rising to new life with Him.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC