Spirituality for Today – April 2014 – Volume 18, Issue 9

Be-attitudes of a Disciple

Dr. Fr. Jerom Paul

A painting of Jesus and his Disciples

The idea of being a disciple of Christ is exciting. Many people have come forward to be a disciple of Christ. It is entirely a new experience, and one needs to prepare himself/herself to take up the challenges and rewards that are in front of him/her. It is important to get off to a good start. Christ himself has taught us from his life some basic social lessons which a disciple of Christ should always cherish in his life. Let us have a quick look at them.

1. Be available (Mt 25:34-40; Lk 10:29-37)

There are many times when we have a mountain of work on our desk that needs to be done, but still need to be available for others. There is a possibility that we can feel locked in ourselves. When someone asks us for help, we need to be there. Anyone who needs our help is our neighbour. Helping someone in need we become a Good Samaritan, a good neighbour. If we are busy, let the person know that we will be available soon. We should always find time to offer our help beyond blood relations and neighbourhood. Our destiny depends on how effective and available we have been in the practise of charity and love.

2. Be true to yourself (Mt 21:28-32)

It won't do us any good to pretend to be someone or something that we are not. We should be honest to ourselves and others. Appearances can be deceiving. Therefore, we should not mislead others with a false appearance. It is not the appearance but the inner self which should be manifested in our behaviour. People will appreciate only those who say a sincere "No" rather than an insincere "Yes". The life of a disciple should not be vitiated by self-interest. His motto should be everything for the glory of God.

3. Be positive and proactive (Mt 4: 23; Lk 6:31)

We all respond better to positive attitudes. It enhances the productivity and efficiency. People like to work with positive environment and with positive people. Our positive comments and actions make a big difference in the interpersonal relationships. Keep in mind that positive attitudes towards others are better suited in our social and family life.

It is easy to remain in a state of passive irresponsibility. Instead of reacting to events in our life, be proactive and respond to opportunities. Being proactive we can be masters of our life. We should make our life the way we want. Responding positively to the events and situations in our life, we can also materialize the dreams of our life. Make use of the gifts and talents to bring out the best in you. With our God-given abilities and opportunities we should create a more humane and better world for ourselves and others.

4. Be compassionate (Mt 9:36; 20:28; Lk 7: 11-17)

A disciple should be happy to treat others with compassion. We are not to treat others with strict justice and hard and fast rules. It is the compassion and mercy of the Lord that prevail over other things. A disciple should be kind and generous with others who too have many defects and limitations like ours. A disciple should insert compassion, love and concern into the rigid laws of religion.

5. Be humble (Mt 20: 28-28; Lk 22: 24-30)

Humility is an indispensable virtue to be practised by a disciple of Christ. The proud hearted often fall into sin. It helps us to restrain ourselves from inordinate desires and enables us to realize our unworthiness and weakness before the Lord. He who humbles himself carries the keys of grace. Proud hearted are deprived of divine graces. We should acknowledge God's mercy and generosity and not our abilities. Everything that we have is gifted by God. Therefore we should not exaggerate our success and attribute them to our abilities rather accept them as gratuitous gifts from God.

6. Be grateful (Lk 17:11-18)

Our life is always a life indebted to somebody. We owe much to so many persons who have contributed differently in making us what we are. Hence we have every reason to be thankful to them for their share of contribution in moulding us. Our expression of gratitude will enhance the joy of the giver and the receiver. The life of a disciple should be a hymn of thanksgiving. Rather than complaining and lamenting over our bitter experiences and failures in life, we should count on the blessings showered on us.

7. Be a healer (Mt 9: 1-8)

The world we live in today is highly sophisticated, fragmented and troubled. Many relationships are mechanical and functional. Many feel wounded, desperate, worried, anxious, disheartened, isolated and frustrated at home or at work place. Many need healing physically, spiritually and emotionally. Healing was an inseparable part of Jesus' mission. The presence of disciple should also be a healing presence everywhere. It should happen in a hundred ways in the families, markets, offices, schools, hospitals and everywhere.

8. Be faithful (Mt 24: 45-51; Lk 12: 41-48)

Discipleship is demanding. It demands undivided faithfulness and loyalty from the disciple. Be faithful to the Master. Be always loyal to Him. A disciple is not working for himself but for the one who sent him. It is abandoning one's all earthly ambitions and desires and living for something heavenly and divine. Therefore, the call of a disciple is not to be understood in terms of a life for personal gratification, but a divine opportunity gratuitously granted to be faithful to Jesus. It simply means to live for Jesus.