Eight truths every Catholic should know

Editor’s note: This is the second of a series of eight Lenten columns.

Seventh truth: Our vocation as disciples of Christ

Sometimes the greatest challenge in life in trying to live by what we believe. Isn’t it often the case that it’s much easier to have a conviction than it is to live by it?

When we freely acknowledge ourselves as disciples of Christ, we are asserting many convictions. What are the consequences of these beliefs in our lives? What should our life look like as followers of the Lord Jesus?

In his public ministry, Jesus closely associated his disciples with his own life. He gave them an active share in his own mission, and called them to be holy and to evangelize the world. In our discipleship with Jesus, he does no less.  

The Lord invites us into a loving and loyal relationship with him. He calls us to faith and conversion, which oftentimes demands a change for the good in our lives. Authentic discipleship leads us to abandon our former way of life, and to seek to live completely in Jesus Christ. We are called to conform ourselves to Jesus until he is formed in us.

Our discipleship urges us to seek the face of God and to mature slowly in his grace. It isn’t about what we will get or what we will accomplish in this world. It’s not intended as a means of self-help or therapy. Our discipleship is about Jesus Christ and our exercise of faith, hope and love in him.

In desiring to be his disciples, we must be willing to accept joyfully the cross. We embrace the cross because we know that the Lord Jesus is nailed to it, and that he has a trustworthy plan. We know that he will assist us through the struggles and difficult times of this life.

The truths of faith must not be seen as cold or remote creedal statements, but as helpful directives for an abundant way of life in Christ. The great divide between what we believe and how we live can be reconciled by faith in Jesus Christ.  

If we let him, God can remove the barriers and hesitations presented by our world. In Christ, we are asked to  live the Gospel confidently and without compromise. We must allow our faith to shape our lives and become its focal point. As disciples, we are summoned to live by faith in Christ.  

While our faith in Jesus is a very personal act, it is not a private one. As followers of the Lord, we are also commissioned to profess our faith, give public testimony to it, and work to spread it within our families, among our neighbors, co-workers and friends. As we have received the gift of faith, we are called to share it with others.

Father Kirby is the parochial vicar at St. Mary Help of Christians parish in Aiken. Visit www.jeffrey-kirby.com.