Letters to Jesus (Seeking Spiritual Connection) -10
Luke 14:26 talks about the meaning of being a follower of Christ and a disciple of Christ.There’s a difference, and the distinction is germane to the Christian spiritual life.
I am a follower; one of those on the rag-tag fringes of the crowd that attaches itself to You wherever You go. I have not given up much because I have convinced myself that to be a follower I don’t have to. I am one who says to myself and to You that I want to move up to that inner circle of the crowd that follows You. I want to be a disciple. But when I see what this necessitates I back off, but continue to follow. It’s the difference between the saints and the rest of us.
You held back nothing from me. But I cannot abandon my wife, my children, or my friends. It is through them that I imagine that I experience You. Yet it would seem that they sometimes get in the way – another great paradox of the spiritual life. You did not reject Your followers. There’s hope in that. But You did encourage them to become disciples and You outlined the meaning of such a commitment.
I don’t think the “predicament” of secular married-life was meant to be a hindrance to being Your disciple – but maybe in a different way than the monk who would give up the world and everything in it for You. I still feel he is the noblest possible disciple in our world. But there are things the rest of us can renounce to grow closer to Your inner circle if even amidst the buzz of the marketplace.. That is why, perhaps, I am so attracted to Anthony DeMello’s notion of Sadhana, because its tenets seem to be tailored to the one living the secular life in the world who still wants to be Your disciple. To learn to love without condition; to come to accept one’s own life and the lives of others; to ward off being possessed by material goods; to learn the lessons of suffering; to place no blame; to deny one’s false self; and to pray – these, if mastered, pull us into Your inner circle.
You pursue me like the lost sheep. You never give up on me. My hope is in this even if I am never courageous enough to become a full disciple. In the words of St. Theresa: I am far from practicing what I know I should, but the mere desire I have to do so gives me peace.