What are some key points the author is stating in this chapter?
I distinctly remember the time, years ago, when my heart become very curious about what it means to create a close and personally relationship with Jesus Christ. As I have stated before in other writings, it is a much different experience of being Catholic. A close and personally relationship with Jesus is more than going to mass each week. My experience has shown me that it is even different from participating in traditional parish adult faith formation gatherings such as bible studies. As the author states, “it is a lifelong process of encountering Jesus anew each day and being changed by Jesus so that we become more like him.”(pg 24)
This chapter, In the Dust of the Rabbi, speaks about a transformation one must go through after making a decision that you desire to have a deeper personal relationship with Jesus. Discipleship isn’t about knowing that Jesus existed. That is like someone who is in the crowds still wondering to themselves “who is this Jesus?”. The author helps us to understand that discipleship is about ‘an immersion into the whole way of life of the teacher’. Disciples desire to be imitators of Jesus Christ and therefore are with him each day of their lives eager to learn from him and have his words and deeds transform their hearts and minds. Ed Sri speaks to the ‘ongoing conversion’ (CCC 1428) we are called to have as Catholics. We need to have such experiences so that over time we start to think as Jesus thinks, see as he sees, love as he loves, and act as he acts.
When you pay close attention to what the author is expressing about being a disciple you can pick up the ‘disciplines’ the first disciples experienced by following Jesus. They shared meals with him, they prayed with him, they were taught by him, they served the poor with him. The author goes on to say that over the course of many weeks, months and years, the disciples began to take on Jesus’ way of living. His compassion became their compassion. His words become their words. His very presence was the presence they brought into peoples lives. This is how we continue His mission and the Kingdom of God’s presence in the world. But they first had be to his disciples and know him personally in order to experience such life changing conversion.
How does this relate to my faith journey?
Trust me I still work at this and sometimes it can be a struggle. But here is how I have started to emulate the life of a disciple in my own life. Just like the first disciples, each day, yes sometimes I miss one or two a week, I spend ‘real time’ with Jesus. This time isn’t a quick thought of Jesus, or a quick ‘Our Father’, or some quick spontaneous ‘God please give me strength today’ prayer. When I made a decision to have a personal relationship with the real person of God, I became more intentional about my time with Him. Granted it started with about 15-20 minutes a day. Now it is much longer. Whatever time of day works for you, disciples have good ‘quality’ time to be with Jesus each day.
My time with Jesus leads me into a personal encounter with him through the scriptures, intentional prayer, and reflection on my charisms. Sometimes it is the Gospel reading for the daily mass, or another Gospel reading that the Holy Spirit seems to be guiding me towards. I also find it very important to make time to be with him physically in Eucharistic Adoration at least once a week. These personal daily encounters in his ‘words and deeds’ is where over time I have experienced ‘ongoing conversion’ of my heart. There are many different life situations that happen now where I find myself, well quick frankly, not being myself but really being the presence of Christ to others. This personal time with Him has certainly has helped me to recognize the truth of St Paul’s words about becoming ‘imitators of Christ’. (I Cor 11:1)
How does this chapter encourage me to grow in discipleship?
So many people seek and long for real joy and meaning to their lives. I believe years ago this was one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit led me to discovering a more personal relationship with Jesus. After having been a long practicing Catholic and very active in parish life, my heart was still not experiencing true joy and purpose of life. This chapter is a good reminder that I must continue and even strengthen my ‘disciplines’ of discipleship so I can continue to grow deeper and deeper in my relationship with Jesus and my role in his mission.
I hope that you have found these words encouraging and reflective. Thank you for taking the time to read this reflection. If you would like to share your thoughts you can either visit the Facebook page or you can fill out the form below and your thoughts will be emailed to me.
If you have not yet had a chance to order this book you can order it by clicking here.
Your friend in Christ,