Discipleship is an identity, an active choice to follow and model one’s life after the individual they follow. Thus, the obvious questions are: Who do you follow, after whom do you model your life? As Christians, we know the answer is Jesus.
The matter of discipleship is a focus in everyday seminary life. In seminarian formation, there are two simultaneous tracks of discerning God’s call, one from the seminarian and one from the Church. The seminarian and the Church (a community of formators) are looking for indicators or signs of a call to the priesthood and the seminarian’s response to God. Essentially, the seminarian and the Church are discerning whether the discipleship of the seminarian will be expressed in the priesthood or not. When indicators of discipleship in the discernment of the priesthood are manifested, they are beautiful to behold. Why are they beautiful? Because the indicators of discipleship show a life of faith and virtue that makes seminarians act more like Jesus Christ.
Whether in the seminary or living a life of faith as a lay witness, when an individual understands God’s love for them and lives in that love, they exhibit multiple indicators of being a disciple. Before any of us takes too much credit or pats ourselves on the back for our discipleship, we should keep in mind that the signs associated with being a disciple exhibit more about God’s love and mercy than point to the goodness of an individual. Grace is necessary and abundant for the disciples of Jesus Christ. It is not only we who follow Jesus Christ; our discipleship is firstly Jesus loving us. Our Lord offers his life for his people, and our discipleship is how we join the mission of the gospel.
The articles in this edition of Mosaic will provide you with the reasons for our discipleship and the indicators that witness to a disciple’s life of faith. There are so many voices in our world that call for us to follow them. It is my prayer that these articles help us to turn toward the Lord and follow him as disciples.
May you closely follow Jesus,
Very Rev. Stephen Burr