The Hallmarks of Intentional Personal Discipleship
by Erica Tice
Ordinary time begins with the calling of the first Apostles. This is not a coincidence. Ordinary time signifies the period of time in the liturgical year which is set aside for spiritual growth, hence the vibrant green of the vestments, chalice veils, and votive candles. As Catholics, this spiritual growth is to be centered on developing intentional personal discipleship, emphasized by the calling of the Apostles. Last week the first encounter of Andrew and Peter with Christ was described by John; today the same encounter is described by Mark. Both evangelists take care to illustrate the overall theme of intentional discipleship with particular focus on the hallmarks of such discipleship: the theological virtue of faith, the art of abandonment, and complete trust. Andrew and Peter follow after Christ in an act of pure faith. Ordinarily, faith is a virtue infused at Baptism, but Peter and Andrew, as well as James and John, demonstrate a profound act of faith by immediately and intentionally following after Christ. Not only to do they make a spectacular display of faith but they also exhibit an attitude of complete abandonment to God’s will. Mark writes that they “abandoned their nets and followed him.” These four men walked away from the only livelihood they knew. None of them knew Christ personally and none of them had any certainty about the future. In simplicity and conviction, they heard the voice of Christ and responded without hesitation. Most importantly of all, each of the Apostles in today’s Gospel wilfully put their trust in Christ. None of them knew what the future held – indeed, three of the four would profess their faith as martyrs – but they knew that Christ was part of that future. So what are we waiting for? Like Peter and Andrew, James and John, we should endeavour to become intentional disciples. By virtue of our Baptism we know the voice of our Lord. As we respond to His voice with faith, abandonment, and trust, we too will be given everything we need to become “fishers of men” and like our brothers, the Apostles, we too can cast our nets into the deep and become heroic saints.
- Jonah 3.15, 10
- Psalm 25 1
- Corinthians 7.29-31
- Mark 1.14-20
Erica Tice is the Campus Minister for The University of St. Michael’s College.