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Defining Our Discipleship

What is discipleship?

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops gives us an insightful definition, according to which mature disciples share five characteristics:(1) they make a conscious choice to be followers; (2) they live that choice through actions; (3) they do not care about the cost—the sacrifice—to themselves of their actions; (4) they treat all they have, both talents and possessions, as gifts and blessings to be shared with others; and (5) they share what they have as a way to further build the kingdom of God.

In Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, the bishops of the United States write, “‘Mature disciples make a conscious, firm decision, carried out in action, to be followers of Jesus Christ no matter the cost to themselves… The authentic disciple regards all he or she is and possesses as gifts and blessings and realizes the need to share those gifts and blessings with others for the sake of the kingdom of God.”

We Are Shown the Way

Jesus shows us the way to the Father. His Mother hears the Word of God and it bears fruit in her very flesh, as the Woman of Faith. Like new Christs, the Twelve and all the followers of Jesus in history reveal something of what it means to be a disciple. During the course of any Christian study, commandments, confession, communion, baptism, and the sacrament of the sick deserve their own attention. All these things speak to our following the call of Christ. We pursue him out of love and obedience.

Precepts of the Church

  1. To keep the day of the Lord’s Resurrection holy by worship at Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation. We are also to avoid activities which would hinder renewal of soul and body, e.g., needless work and business activities, unnecessary shopping, etc.
  2. To lead a sacramental life: to receive holy communion frequently and the sacrament of reconciliation regularly.
  3. Minimally, to receive the sacrament of penance at least once a year if in serious sin.
  4. Minimally, to receive holy communion at least once a year, between the First Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday. (However, weekly Sunday Mass attendance is still required.)
  5. To study Catholic teaching in preparation for the sacrament of confirmation, to be confirmed, and then to study and to advance the cause of Christ.
  6. To observe the marriage laws of the Church; to give religious training by word and example to one’s children; and to use parish school’s and religious education programs.
  7. To strengthen and support the Church. This consists in assisting one’s own parish community and parish priests, as well as the worldwide Church and the Holy Father.
  8. To do penance, including abstaining from meat and fasting from food on the appointed days.
  9. To join in the missionary spirit and apostolate of the Church.

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10)

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the reign of God is theirs.
2. Blessed are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled.
3. Blessed are the lowly; they shall inherit the earth.
4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.
5. Blessed are they who show mercy; mercy shall be theirs.
6. Blessed are the single-hearted; they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peace-makers; they shall be called sons of God.
8. Blessed are those persecuted for holiness’ sake; the reign of God is theirs.

Corporal Works of Mercy

1. To feed the hungry.
2. To give drink to the thirsty.
3. To clothe the naked.
4. To visit the imprisoned.
5. To shelter the homeless.
6. To visit the sick.
7. To bury the dead.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

1. To admonish the sinner.
2. To instruct the ignorant.
3. To counsel the doubtful.
4. To comfort the sorrowful.
5. To bear wrongs patiently.
6. To forgive all injuries.
7. To pray for the living and the dead.




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