The Cost Of Discipleship

“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple…So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” Luke 14:26-27, 33

Jesus is pretty blunt in this Gospel reading.  He’s telling us that we are to put Him first, before everything that seems most important to us – family, friends, status, accomplishments, possessions.  This was as challenging a teaching then as it is now.  Anyone who has ever spoken out against abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage; anyone who has ever defended Christian values, the Magisterium, the Pope and the Catholic Church has lived this Bible passage and experienced the cost of discipleship.

Increasingly, the Gospel message is rejected.  Even among the congregation sitting weekly in the pews, the core teachings of the Church are ignored.  Relativism is alive and thriving at Sunday Mass.  In our Catholic schools, poorly formed teachers are teaching our children a poorly formed version of the Faith.  When the sign of The Cross is replaced with “In the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier,” then something is horribly wrong.  In our extended families, the Faith becomes a battleground.  Issues such as abortion, fidelity to the Magisterium and same-sex marriage continue to cause division among family members.

So what are we supposed to do?  How do we keep ourselves and our families focused on the Truth when popular opinion is not in our favour?  Well, first we pray.  Then we pray some more.  We pray for courage, perseverance and strength.  And we pray for those who speak harshly against us.  We teach our children by example, prayer and dialogue.  If they see and hear us defending the Church, they will learn to do the same.  If they see us on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament and before Jesus in Adoration, they will profess that Jesus is Lord.  If we make family prayer a priority, they will cultivate a prayer life.  When they see us lining up to go to confession, they will understand that even the strongest people in their lives offend the Lord and need forgiveness.  If we take them to prayer vigils in defense of life, and if they stand with us in prayerful silence in the presence of hecklers, they will believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death and they will defend life.  If they observe us unwavering against pressure and condemnation from family and friends, they will fully understand what Jesus teaches.

In our family, we have tried to teach the kids in various ways, from the time they were toddlers, that love of God comes first.  The family rosary occurs most evenings.  Something as commonplace for us as saying Grace Before Meals in a crowded restaurant is a witness of faith.  So is inviting their non-practicing or non-Catholic friends to join us for Christmas and Easter Mass and the family celebration afterwards.  The kids are not strangers to hecklers at 40 Days For Life or Life Chain,  nor do they back down from defending the Church in a university lecture hall or in a Catholic classroom.

Recently, #7 expressed his pro-life views to a group of other pre-teens who stated that they support abortion.  He explained, a little bit emotionally, that abortion is murder of an unborn child.   Even though he was upset, he realized that they didn’t really understand the seriousness of what they were saying.  He told me that the worst part about the incident was that it took place one day after our family had participated at a 40 Days for Life vigil.

My children have observed first-hand how adhering to Holy Mother Church’s teachings has come at a great personal cost in my relationship with my extended family.  They have seen that compromising my beliefs is not an option regardless of family pressure to accept same-sex marriage.

The tide seems to be against us.  Popular media, public opinion, even election results reject the Bible’s message.  But Jesus admonishes us: “take courage; I have conquered the world!” John 16:33

The best thing we can do to bring about change is to start at home.  Build up the domestic Church within our families and we can do our part to build up the culture of life in the world.

Deo Gratias

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26 Responses to The Cost Of Discipleship

  1. lamehousewife says:

    Love it! Thank you so much for this! This post is one spectacular reason why I enjoy blogging so much–to hear from other parts of the world that people have the same vision of faith, hope, and love in the Lord. God is so good to allow us to find fellow believers here. God bless, sister…

  2. Thank you for this post. It is so easy to just go with the flow, say what is politically correct, and then people will like you. It is much harder for us to stay up for the Gospel, which is despised by the world.

    God bless your son for standing up for the unborn in the face of peer pressure. It sounds like he has strong character.

  3. Biltrix says:

    Your #7’s a though guy! You are right in saying that we’ve all had the experience. Sometimes our words are convincing to others if they will listen to them and we present them logically. Other times, the best we can do is pray and lead by example.

    “If they [our children] see and hear us defending the Church, they will learn to do the same.” My experience tells me that that is very true. My brother and I have strong differences of opinion on many things, but when it comes to the nature of the one true Church and certain moral issues like abortion, we see eye to eye as defenders of the truth. Where did we get that from? He could tell you better than I could. Mom and Dad.

  4. #7 is not shy about giving his opinion. Thanks for your kind words. It seems that your parents did a good job.

    • Me says:

      Kudos to your son for standing up to his peers! Everyday we are bombarded by sexual cues and that it is ok to sleep around. It isn’t! Then, when a tiny life emerges from it and the couple decides to end that life…it saddens me, saddens me more than the losses I have had. Our society tries to poison our minds and make us think that the Church is archaic, it isn’t. Those values were designed to last for all time. God bless.

  5. Mr. V. says:

    Terry,

    thanks for posting this. The words are very applicable for us down here, ‘south of the border’ 😀 , after this week’s election. As others have stated in the last few days, it’s perhaps a good thing that the election turned out the way it did, for if it had gone otherwise, all too many of us may have had the attitude that everything’s all good now and nothing more needs to be done.

    In truth, what God has shown us is that we must put our faith in Him, not in a vote. He never promised us an easy life, and evil won’t go away simply because we voted against it. This was perhaps a good thing, for it should show all of us that we need to turn our eyes to God and get on our knees and pray. And pray. And pray again. The Devil won’t stop his efforts because of a single election. It takes constant vigilance and effort and prayer.

    It takes discipleship.

    • Stephen, thanks. I was thinking of all of you in the U.S. while writing this. The work continues, rooted in prayer and love. Grace and peace.

    • Mr. V,

      You and I are on the same wave-length. We humans have our own ideas about how to build a kingdom of justice and peace, and that’s actually a BAD thing. Pray, pray and pray some more. I must pray to learn to set my ego aside and let God be the boss!

      Each one of us is strongly tempted to head off in our own direction, following our own plan for promoting respect for the dignity of life. As if God was waiting for MY plan!

      Thy will be done!

      Paul

  6. Teresa Rice says:

    Thank you for posting this Terry. In this secular world we are constantly being tested by Satan. Prayer, keeping the faith, and trusting in the Lord is the answer. God Bless.

  7. Faith and family; family and faith. Great post.

  8. genericmum says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I can’t even mention the ROSARY in front of my wider practicing Catholic family, without getting a reaction. And they treat having more than two children as if it some terrible burden inflicted upon us by a patriarchal papacy. But the hardest thing for parents is that we must continue to form our children, knowing full well that they may choose to reject the Church at any time. I guess that shows us a glimpse of God’s attitude to us, as well…

  9. I know what you mean re: the rosary and having more than 2 children. My parish priest once told me that even if our children choose to reject the Church, if we have planted the seeds, nurtured them and shown good example, there is a greater likelihood that they will return to their Faith later in life. I look at St. Augustine and the wild life he led in his youth. Through St. Monica’s unrelenting prayers and his own questioning and searching, he became a saint. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Congratulations on the food for thought award! I’ll definitely be following your blog. Great insights here. Prayers from NY!

  11. Erika says:

    It is true that relativism and lukewarmness is thriving at the Sunday Mass (it pains me to say this, but it’s not just found among those sitting in the pews). Judgement starts with the house of God, and when Catholics themselves have lost their “first love” then it shouldn’t be surprising to see society chasing after and glorifying filth. 😦
    I couldn’t agree more that the key to change begins in the home! God bless you and your family as you continue to undertake this momentous but imperative task. The road is surely difficult and the results not easily seen, but the impact will be great in eternity.

  12. Great post and sticking to your values despite the consequences shows great faith. I recently lost several close family members due to disagreements on abortion gay marriage and this american election. The funny thing is they really think they are showing love and tolerance to those doing immorality. The veil remains. God is good

  13. I think tolerance is a misused, misunderstood term, especially when used in areas of morality. I empathize with your loss/estrangement from close family members. With me, it’s because of my refusal to accept the gay lifestyle/marriage of family members. They think I hate them, but I don’t. It’s because I love them that I refuse to accept their immorality. Thanks for your comment.

  14. Nancy Shuman says:

    I add my thanks to those above for a wonderful post.

  15. Wow another solid reading of your blog. God has given you great understanding, because your unpacking of topics are amazing! It is also encouraging to see your strong faith 🙂 #Godbless

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