THE DISCIPLE’S HEALTH
Disciple. “Disciple” and “Discipline” are words formed from the Latin, “dicere”, that is, to learn. Obviously, true discipleship is marked by discipline.
Discipline is doing what you really don’t want to do, so that you can do what you really want to do. Discipline is paying the price in the little things, so that you can buy the bigger thing. Discipline is being faithful to the little things in order to be given far greater things. It is detaching from small things to prepare for attachment to greater things that matter the most.
Health. Health is the state of being sound in body or mind. Health is from the Old English word hal, meaning ”whole”. Interestingly, the word “holy” is also rooted in the same Old English word haul. Thus, health and holiness, in reality, refer to wholeness.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus stresses the importance of keeping ourselves healthy, that is, free from any form of enslavement. Jesus also emphasizes God’s generosity toward those who make Him their highest value. Because God, the Most Holy, is the key to a disciple’s wholeness or holiness. The gospel narrates a man who wanted to follow Jesus but who went away sad for “he had many possessions”. Notice how Jesus “looked at him with love”. Why? Because, like many of us, this man was in need of healing, in need of wholeness. More than just observing the commandments, he needed to put God first in his life so he may be restored to health.
Three Areas of a Disciple’s Health
1. A Disciplined Head.
- Keeping your mind active and regularly taking on mental challenges will help you develop the kind of disciplined thinking that will help you with life’s endeavors.
- Don’t stop reading. Don’t stop learning.
- Have your personal bible. You may already have a personal cell phone but not a personal bible.
- Read the Bible. Start with a few verses every day. Then dedicate time, say, 5 minutes during pryaer time to read and reflect on the word of God.
- It is good enough if you have your own bible diary where the readings for the day’s mass are printed.
- Read our lecturettes.
- Be interested in the new words you encounter in your readings or conversations. Having a handy dictionary in Filipino and English is highly recommended.
- Keep on discovering and re-discovering your faith through the right sources. Should you start to have doubts about certain doctrines of the Catholic church, please question first your scholarship. Doubt first about whether you know fully well what is being taught. Do your faith homework.
- Beware. Do not just swallow the words of tele-evangelists who attack the Catholic faith with the Bible alone principle.
- Desire to share what you know. Keep on teaching. Don’t ever say that you are too old, too busy or lacking in intelligence to learn new things or re-learn new ways of relating, speaking and thinking. Holiness is only possible through contact with the Holy One through prayer.
- Prayer is the language of a Disciplined mind, a disciple’s mind. Give importance and time to your daily prayer with the same or even greater time and importance than you give in meals, chatting with friends, exercising your body or recreating.
- St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans (12:2): “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
- Wholeness can be achieved with a balanced prioritiy of values in your mind.
2. A Disciplined Heart.
- You have two choices when it comes to your emotions. You can master them or be mastered by them. It is unfortunate to see people enslaved by their emotions into their old age. You should not let your feelings prevent you from doing what you should do, nor drive you to do things you should not.
- Remember, being too emotional makes you a number one candidate for the devil’s deception.
- Be proactive. Be responsible for your own feelings. Don’t allow the weaknesses of others become your weaknesses too. You have enough of your own weaknesses. Don’t add more, unnecessarily.
- You don’t feel guilty for feeling hungry when your stomach is really empty. So, don’t feel guilty for being angry at something or someone that provokes anger. Remember, that feelings do not have morality in themselves. Morality is in what and how you respond to your emotions. so, don’t be scrupulous.
- That is not healthy; that is not holy.
- Also, don’t control your emotions. It’s useless doing that. Rather, control your reactions to your emotions. That is discipline.
3. Disciplined Hands.
Sharpening your mind and controlling your reactions to your emotions are important, but discipleship does not stop there! The rich young man went away sad on account of it.
Action is what separates the winners from the losers. Your actions always reflect the degree of discipline and discipleship you possess.
The final command of Jesus to a real disciple is to “give to the poor”! Remember, the measure of discipleship is to love without measure.
Epilogue: Your Spiritual Check-up
The author of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us: “No creature is concealed from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must render an account.” (Heb 4: 13)
The weaknesses of our heads, hearts and hands, like the rich young man, may have caused us to go away from God with sadness. But Jesus continues to look at each of us with love, awaiting our restoration to health, to wholeness, to spiritual healing and holiness. When was you last general spiritual check-up. When was your last Confession? You say that priests are also human beings and are sinners, and therefore, you should only confess directly to God. Think again.
✠Jesus had himself baptized by John, a mere human being. Indeed, a recognition that God uses human beings to prove our humility in front of the loving Father.
✠To prove the urgency of humble service, Jesus washed the feet of his apostles.
✠To affirm humanity’s need for humility as a pre-requisite of healing and forgiveness, Jesus allowed the woman to wash and anoint His feet.
✠Even priests go to confessions. Remember, the door to all spiritual well-being is the door of humility. Please be mindful of the spiritual health of your soul. It’s the only one you’ve got.
God bless you!♥
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