The word “Disciple” literally means a "learner." According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament words, it denotes “one who follows another’s teachings.”
A disciple is not only a "learner"; he is also an "adherent." In Webster’s “sticking fast” - a supporter or follower.
I would like to share with you a reflection concerning "discipleship." I will expand the reflection over a few posts. I hope that you will share your thoughts with me. Let us pray for vocations, pray for disciples.
Jesus Christ – The Good Shepherd
What does a good Shepherd do? He feeds and tends the sheep. The shepherd is always moving forward, looking for new ground – looking for new pasture for the sheep. The sheep follow the Shepherd with loving trust. They know that if they follow the Shepherd, there will be food, there will be life. And if we follow the Shepherd Jesus Christ, we follow on a divine path. When we follow the Master, we are His disciples. The Gospel of St. Luke 6:40 - “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” Our teacher is Christ. To be Christ’s disciple is to be LIKE CHRIST. In his book "The Imitation of Christ" –Thomas of Kempis writes: “Christ’s teaching surpasses that of all the saints, and whoever has His spirit will find in His teachings “hidden manna." This is the Bread come down from heaven, the necessary food for life. If you want to understand the Teacher’s words, you must strive to conform your entire life to His.”
The Encounter with Christ
Pope John Paul II says;
The encounter with Christ “radically” changes a person’s life; it spurs him to Metanoia, a Greek word that means a profound conversion of mind and heart. Turning one’s back to the past and making a clean break with it. It establishes a “communion of life” which is discipleship. To have one’s life touched by Christ means to see one’s own life and plans upset. Like the fisherman of Galilee who heard the call of Jesus, they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything to follow Jesus. (Lk 5:11)
When Jesus enters your life, He disquiets your conscience and He reads your heart, as happened with the woman of Samaria who said to Jesus “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.' Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you. She went into the town and told the people. “Come see a man who told me everything I have done.” (Jn 4:29)
Thomas Merton, Cistercian monk and priest wrote, "A true encounter with Christ liberates something in us, a power we did not know we had, a hope, a capacity for life, resilience, an ability to bounce back when we thought we were completely defeated, a capacity to grow and change, a power of creative transformation."
My first encounter with Christ occurred in my childhood. I grew up directly across the street from my Church, Holy Family in Union City, New Jersey. I listened to the church bells day and night for 21 years. The ringing of bells has many meanings. The announcement of Consecration, time for dinner, time to wake up. Jesus wanted to wake ME up, but it would be years before I discerned the call.
To be continued....
* Top image - Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey
** Image of the Good Shepherd - 3rd Century painting
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