Mature Discipleship: A Deeper Reality of Discipleship
Ron Rolheiser, in his recent book “Sacred Fire”, makes a distinction between “essential discipleship” and “mature discipleship.” It is not a matter of “better” or “worse”, but more an acknowledgement of the reality that there is a cycle to our lives that allow us to move deeper into our relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. It is also not necessarily a function of age per se, but more an acceptance of the natural or organic season that our lives enter. He says the “human soul is like a fine wine that needs to ferment in various barrels as it ages and mellows.”
Yet recognizing the need to “ferment in various barrels” can be in itself a daunting task and one that requires deep prayer. It requires a level of honesty to acknowledge that I am where I am and not necessarily where I want to be at this time in my life. It requires of us a deep maturity to accept ourselves where we are right now and not where we would rather be. That honesty and maturity is rooted in a constant and consistent self-reflection and is the cornerstone of any deeper spiritual life. That self-reflection requires a commitment to listening to God in prayer each and every day.
This weekend we celebrated Pentecost and the gift of the Spirit to the original disciples. Their time with the Lord came to an end and it was time to go out into the deeper waters to spread the Good News with all people who will listen. It was the beginning of the Church as we know it. We also are called to allow that same Holy Spirit to work in our lives and go and spread the Good News, albeit in smaller and less dramatic ways. It will be up to us to keep the fire alive and find ways to spread the message of Jesus to all who will listen. Let us pray and discern if we are ready for this more mature discipleship and to give ourselves even more to the role of the Spirit in our lives and to lead others to Christ Jesus.
Fr. Brendan McGuire