From the Hermitage
February 25, 2014
Yes, it is a question we might consider because our life as a Christian can become something taken for granted since we live it, or try to live it, each and every day. So, what is it that make me a Christian? To answer this question, I have taken one of Pope Francis' recent homilies for my own prayer and reflection.
First characteristic: A Christian is someone who does not standstill. The Pope refers to such a Christian, one who does not move forward, as one that is "not well." He is certainly an example to all of us of someone who does not stand still.
Those who know me well, realize that characteristic in my ways. Change does not frighten me. It is a welcomed gift in my life. As a Jesuit and now as a diocesan clergyman, life is only meaningful to me when it is not stagnant. Nothing is more painful than standing still, not moving forward.
A Christian is a disciple. And what is a disciple? Well, if you have read the gospels of the four Evangelists, did you even consider how much traveling those early followers of Jesus incorporated into their following Jesus. Here, there: wherever Jesus could do good for others; wherever Jesus could attract other disciples and/or apostles; wherever Jesus could find a place to be in prayer with his Father. And when these followers were not with Jesus, they became is disciples (those who would teach what Jesus was teaching).
Let this first characteristic be the fodder for your prayer or reflection today. What we might consider for ourselves today is whether or not each of our personal lives is one that exemplifies the moving forward attitude. Especially in our times when there is so much criticism of individuals, it is easy to let others' observations of who and what we are weigh us down. A disciple does not let that happen. Are you a disciple of Jesus? Do you call yourself a Christian? How does the notion of always moving forward despite difficulties of set backs sit with you? Together let us ponder this characteristic, especially trying to understand what great treasury there is in being recognized as one dedicated to moving forward, committed to the changes that Jesus brings into our lives.
Tomorrow and Thursday, we can together consider the other characteristics Pope Francis mentions so that we might recall them for our own consideration.
Oremus pro invicem,