The stiff price of discipleship

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

IT’S definitely no joke to be a disciple of Christ. It demands of us everything. This is how Christ himself described what to be his disciple requires:

“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14,26-27)

And he added that to effectively carry out our discipleship of him, we should plan things well. We should not just have good intentions. We have to be properly equipped with everything that Christ himself would provide us. And this is nothing less than for us to be truly identified with Christ.

With Christ, everything will be put in order. We would know how to understand his words that at first may sound harsh and even inhuman to us—what with him telling us to hate our father and mother, children, brothers and sisters.

We will understand that what he meant is that we give our whole heart to him, and by doing so we would actually know how to love everybody and everything else in the proper way. Our usual problem is that our human loving tends to be disorderly, fueled mainly by earthly and temporal principles and missing the real source of love.

We should train ourselves to have God first, last and always in our loving. This may require some discipline to control our human urges to let ourselves be guided and moved always by God’s love. This definitely will be a lifelong affair but we should consider as all worth it.

And to be true disciples of Christ, we also need to do some good planning and strategizing. That’s because we easily get confused and entangled in our ways. Especially these days when what is more trending is to be street-smart, to be practical with all kinds of technical skills, or to be good in the so-called life skills, there is great need to know how these conditions can be oriented toward our duty to be true disciples of Christ.

There is a crying need to know how to relate the technical details of our present condition to the spiritual and supernatural goal of our life, and how these can be used as an occasion to do apostolate to cooperate with Christ in his continuing mission of human redemption.

It cannot be denied that we often miss these ultimate and most important goals and missions of our earthly life. There is indeed a great need to train ourselves to maintain the spiritual, apostolic and supernatural bearing even as we immerse ourselves in the things of this world.

This is actually a call to be true contemplatives which should not be understood that we distance ourselves from the things of this world. Our earthly and temporal affairs are definitely the place and the occasion where we can be tested by God to see if what he wants us to be—that is, to be his image and likeness, to be his children and sharers of his divine life and nature—is also what we ourselves would like to be.

For this, we definitely have to avail of some effective plan and strategy. Let’s hope that we are up to this challenge that may appear to us as overwhelming. But we should reassure ourselves that Christ himself has given us everything we need to be his true disciples. There’s really no need to worry much!



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