Living the way Jesus instructed us is not easy; we grow in Faith gradually throughout our whole lives, making small changes to become better Christians. The Catholic Faith is not something we can practice on our own – it’s important to have spiritual role models that help to support us, guide us, and be an example for us.
Having companions in our spiritual journey can make a big difference. “The Old Testament has some beautiful examples,” says Fr. Nathan Reesman, regular contributor to The Inner LifeTM and priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Ruth and Naomi, Samuel and Eli, Elijah and Elisha – their stories in scripture “show that in the great walk of life, God desires that we have models and companions to help us; that we’re not expected to do this all by ourselves.”
“Oftentimes, it’s a good role model, a good mentor or inspiring figure that really leads to more followers of the Faith. In the case of Samuel, growing up to be the last great judge, Elisha another beautiful prophet after Elijah, Ruth becoming a great example of Old Testament piety; role models tend to raise up more to follow after them,” says Fr. Reesman. “The same is true of the New Testament era, too … this is how the Church grows and how the Faith spreads.”
“We don’t learn the Faith in isolation—it has to be modeled for us,” says Fr. Reesman. As we have received the gift of Faith from a parent, friend or other role model, we are called to be a role model to share the Faith with someone else.
“It’s one of the great tricks of the devil to make us think that we’re by ourselves, that no one could relate to us or understand us. Jesus counsels against loneliness in his Last Supper prayer, ‘I’m not going to leave you orphans. I’m always going to be with you,’” explains Fr. Reesman.
Even if you don’t have many family members or friends who share your Catholic Faith, you are not alone. The Church is there to be your companion and help. Get involved in your parish community or tune in to your favorite Relevant Radio program. You can even find excellent role models throughout history—the saints, those who lived a virtuous life here on earth and secured eternal life.
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20