This past week on The Inner Life, host Josh Raymond recounted the time he auditioned to be the new keyboardist for a band years ago. After he and some of the other members arrived, the last person to show up for the audition was the lead guitarist. When he finally arrived, he descended the stairs to the basement looking exactly like the guitarist from Guns ‘N’ Roses, Slash. The only missing piece was the top hat. Josh could immediately tell that his main musical influence must be Slash. And as he later disclosed, he was Slash’s biggest fan.
Josh likened this anecdote to the way that we should be as disciples of Christ. “And I don’t mean that we should all wear our hair long and grow beards and put on sandals. But if someone encountered you for the first time, just like when I very first met that guitar player and knew without him saying a word that he was a Slash devotee, would somebody meeting you for the first time know that you were a disciple of Jesus?” Would people know that Christ had transformed you through His teaching and example? How do we act in such a way that we can accurately imitate Jesus and “share in His sufferings”?
Fr. Matthew Widder joined the show to talk about what it means to be a disciple in all stages and situations of life. “A disciple is a student of Our Lord, is a student of the Messiah who seeks to follow Him. There are different elements of discipleship whether it’s study, whether it’s our prayer life, the sacramental life.” And then there is the next stage, the following in Christ’s footsteps. While we live it in our own lives, we should take advantage of opportunities for apostolate, chances to share it.
It is not enough to know about Jesus Christ. But we should be living out what we learn through scripture. “Sometimes we can get trapped in that sense of we know ‘Catholic trivia’ perhaps, your ‘Biblical trivia’, but then are we living it? Now it’s hard to love that which you don’t know, whom you don’t know, so we need to ‘know’. I’m not saying that’s not important,” prefaced Fr. Widder. But we should push ourselves further. In the words of St. John Paul II, “It is not enough to discover Christ – you must bring Him to others!”
Josh asked about practical ways for lay people to act on these words, perhaps without approaching people in the forward way Jehovah’s Witnesses do. Fr. Widder responded, saying that while door-to-door ministry is ambitious, it is misguided because it isn’t founded on relationships. He offered the idea that we are all gifted in different ways and we should play to our strengths by meeting Christ in the passions that we have, whether that be through prayer ministry, musical ministry, craftsmanship, or administration. In these ways, we can forge new disciples through our work and the relationships we find there.
“Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds.”
St. Francis of Assisi
Listen to the full conversation below:
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