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The measure of discipleship

I found this today while reading The Signature of Jesus, by the late Brennan Manning. A chastening read throughout, this quote from another author cited by Manning really hit me today:

We need reminders, symbols, stories, exhortations, living models, time-outs for reflection and celebration. These things are indispensable supports. The error is to think these things ARE the Christian life.

Just as Jesus’s practice of prayer was in the service of a whole WAY OF LIFE – a MEANS RATHER THAN AN END – so must ours be. Insofar as prayer, reading, sacraments, and spiritual direction support genuine Christian living, that is, Christian attitudes, relationships, choices, and actions, they are useful. When they become an escape from the more difficult demands of Christian living, they are the corruption of discipleship. The question at the Last Judgment is not, “How religious was your talk?” nor “Was your faith orthodox in every respect?” but “How did you respond to needy brothers and sisters?”

This is the one reliable measure of discipleship.

Quoted from Thomas R. Kelly, A Testament of Devotion (New York: Harper and Row, 1941)

Categories: Highlanders
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