February 6, 2022
Disciple - one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another
Apologist - one who speaks or writes in defense of someone or something
In our Baptism we are given grace to become a person of faith. In Confirmation we are given special grace to spread that faith. In the Eucharist we are fortified by Christ’s physical presence within us. In Reconciliation we erase the divisions that sin creates between us and Christ. In each of these Sacraments we are invited into a deeper relationship with Christ and His Church. We’ve all been in at least one relationship we want to shout from the rooftops about. We understand what it means to be so connected to someone that they are present in every facet of our lives. Our connection to Christ and our relationship to His Church should be just such a relationship and connection. We may find ourselves enamored of Christ but afraid or unsure of how to speak about him. We don’t know enough, we still have questions, we still have doubts, and we don’t want to be challenged.
We have only to look to Christ’s original disciples to understand that being in relationship with Jesus will lead to questions, doubts, and challenges. Knowing Christ doesn’t mean freedom from struggle or our own cross. The Apostles do more than show us the struggles though, they show us how to overcome them. When we feel like we don’t know Christ, we can spend time with him, following him so closely we wear the dust his feet kick up from the road. When we have doubts, we can ask questions, listening even when we still don’t understand. When we’re afraid to be challenged we can follow him to the foot of the cross and see that no challenge we face will be faced alone.
The path to holiness is the path of discipleship. Disciples accept and spread the teachings of another. The first step to accepting is to learn. You don’t have to know every theological defense for every teaching of the Church in order to know that you accept the Church’s teaching. The next step of accepting and beginning to spread the Gospel is to love. Just as I pointed out the relationships that touch every facet of our lives, the more deeply we love Christ and His Church, the more we will be visible signs of Him in the world. When we are fully living the teachings of Christ, following Him closely in our imperfection, we will spread the faith as much by our actions as by anything we say. That doesn’t excuse us from speaking. We are all called to proclaim the truth of the Gospel by our words.
We’re not all called to be apologists who speak and write with the express purpose of defending the faith. But we are called to be disciples, knowing, loving, and following Christ and His Church, even in the face of doubts, questions, struggles, and challenges from others and from within.
Written by: Melissa Capella