What are the essential elements of Catholic Discipleship? Mike “Gomer” Gormely has been answering this question for the last few weeks and today he puts it all together. Mike outlines the traps a disciple can fall into. He also shares how we can continue to grow in intimacy with Christ.
Snippet from the Show
At the end of the day, each day, you are only one act of honest repentance away from undoing the works of Satan, exposing his works to the light of Christ, and returning home.
Summary of Episodes on the Essential Elements of Discipleship
What is Discipleship?
There are different calls to different people in different ways.
How Real is Christ?
So many of us don’t really know Christ. It is time for an Examination of Consciousness! Christ comes alive in the Gospels. The Gospels are trans-cultural, yet we have stripped Christ of his humanity, reducing him to an abstraction. We reduce Jesus to his kindness. We reduce Jesus to my neighbor. We reduce Jesus to our theological diagram. The first pillar of intimacy with Christ is the Gospels.
One of the Greatest Gifts of the Gospels!
The second pillar of intimacy with Christ is personal prayer. The disciples saw Jesus pray and were attentive to his explicit teachings on prayer. They realized that he is the one to Whom and in Whom we are praying.
The Priorities of Christ
Jesus fully reveals God to man and man to himself. So what He hates the most, we need to hate the most, and that’s the love of money. The second thing he attacked is “foolishness”, which is putting transient things in front of eternal ones. Jesus’ parables also focus on not great sinners/sins, but ordinary ones. Finally, the way of Christ is the way of Love.
Beatitudes: The Way and the End
If you ask “Why?” you are asking a question about goals and ends. But Jesus is both the End of the journey and the Way, this is why the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount are the Magna Carta of Christianity. Each beatitude lays out the self-portrait of Christ as well as the vocation of every disciple.
Discipline or Arrogance?
Jesus goes after the scribes and Pharisees all of the time. Why didn’t he make common cause with them, since so many of their doctrines aligned? It is because he starts with the heart, the guts, the interior desires of a person and not just with the outward action.
Faith Without a Miracle
In this episode, we talk about those gospel scenes where people witnessed a “sign” and converted versus those who only received His word and that was enough.
The Cost of Discipleship
Jesus was crucified and he bids us to come and follow him. We have 2 attitudes to suffering: rebellion or resignation. Suffering matures us in Christ, keeps us humble, teaches us compassion for others, schools us in self-insufficiency and need for grace, and communicates the True Theology of the Trinity into our hearts through self-giving love.
The Pathways of Repentance
Another essential component to true discipleship is our metanoia – Repentance. Metanoia means “change of mind” or “heart” or “life.”
The Purgative Way with Christ
When the romance of conversion wears off, many Christians find themselves at a loss. They don’t get why prayer isn’t amazing, why the feels and vibes have worn off, and why this once-enrapturing faith is now monotonous. The soul becomes disillusioned with Christianity, with Christ, and with the Self. And yet, these disillusionments are not to be the end! Christ uses them to refine the true faith and longing of the individual soul who desires to be in love with him. This is the purgative way, where Christ strips the soul of all that is not Him so that, in the end, she may let go of Christ that He may hold on to her.
The Illuminative Way with Christ
Having been purified of her false externals, interior fixations, and sense of self, Jesus now begins to re-clothe and adorn the soul with all that is of Him. The soul advances in virtue and prayer. Occasions of sin and false people are now sources of grace and virtue. Divine Friendship is the source and object of one’s own contemplation, conscious of God’s presence and friendship within the soul. Virtue becomes easier and yet sin becomes graver. The gravest temptation is individualism, which is expressed in the rejection of the Voice of God in the Church.
Questions on Discipleship
What does it mean to be a disciple?
To follow the master, to be a student of a teacher, to be trained as an apprentice.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ?
Disciples are disciplined with the lessons of the Master. Similar to rabbis in Jesus’ time, he called men to follow his way of life and be devoted to his teachings. Unlike the rabbis in his time, Jesus’ disciples were called in all stages of life, all manner of vocations, and from a host of different views. Not all were men! Not all followed him daily, but some held down base camps in different cities. Yet, with Christ, the difference was his personhood. He was the subject and object of study, not just his words or deeds. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Christian discipleship, we never cease following after the Master.
How do I start to follow Christ today?
Within the sacramental life of the Church, there is a need for every single Catholic to embrace the two pillars of intimacy with Christ. The first pillar is the diligent, prayerful, and studious attention we must pay to the four Gospels. The second pillar is personal prayer.
How can I continue in intimacy with Christ?
The life of a disciple is ordered by Christ. Maturity as a disciple is becoming as much like the Master as is possible. This starts with your innermost desires. Conversion means to rip up by the roots the old man of the flesh that glories only in this world’s gifts, and seeks first the Kingdom of Heaven. A disciple does this by carrying his cross behind Christ every day. If you place Heaven before Earth, then certain things follow.
What if I fail or abandon Christ?
Every baptized Christian that has fallen into disillusionment, despair, or habitual mortal sin is always only one true act of repentance away from coming home to Christ. Repentance means mourning your sins with a real interior sorrow of your heart. It is expressed through the confession of your sins with all humility to the priest. It is solidified by your renunciation of not just your sins, but the occasions that led you there, as well as the resolution to never walk that false path again.
What traps can a Christian fall into?
Every Christian, be he Catholic or non-denominational or somewhere in between, can fall into the trap of Externalism.
Two Big Lies
The two worst traps are the following
- You think that you, not Christ, are the reason why he has called you to himself, not Him.
- Forgetting that Satan, your adversary, is prowling about looking for opportunities to destroy your relationship with Christ.
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Meet Your Hosts
Michael “Gomer” Gormley
Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.
He is the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and hosts two popular Catholic podcasts: Catching Foxes and Every Knee Shall Bow.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.
Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.
He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.
Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.