"Radical Discipleship to Jesus"

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Notwithstanding any of my previous commentary on the book , we then have passages like these:

from Transfiguration
Fr. John Dear

I can think of no greater life than radical discipleship to Jesus. Companionship and friendship with Jesus, and the Gospel work of justice and peace that this life entails, may sound quaint, pious, and naive, if not idealistic or surreal, but I submit, as the saints and martyrs testified, that it is the most authentic and rewarding life. Each one of us can choose to live our days in the company of Jesus, to walk in his footsteps, enter his story,a nd become his friend and companion.

Other than the very narrow focus on what the "Gospel work" entails, this is one of many passages in which Father Dear encourages and expatiates upon the beauty, integrity, and meaning of a life lived for, with, and through Jesus Christ. There are some wonderful passages that describe this life and even give details about how to move from our present lives into this close companionship with Jesus.

Fr. Dear's contention is that this close companionship with Christ will foster a thirst for justice and peace, and that is, without question true.

from Transfiguration
Fr. John Dear

Reliance on Jesus is the heart of the Christian life. The saints testify that the key to their lives was not their great accomplishments, their terrible sufferings, their bold prophecies, or even their astonishing miracles. It was Jesus. Somehow, he had touched them, invited them to follow him, and managed to walk by their side. Through his grace they remained faithful to him, rooting everything they did in their intimate relationship with him. Their lives made sense and bore good fruit because they were centered on Jesus.

All the outstanding figures of the past century exemplify this devotion to Jesus. Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, wrote shortly before her death in 1980 that she was grateful and luck because "Jesus has been on my mind nearly every day of my life."

He goes on to list Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, Mahatma Gandhi, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Merton, and Philip Berrigan, all of whom he calls "modern-day Saints." And I suppose that is true enough, and yet it reads like a litany of "the usual suspects" in a certain way of thinking. Where is Padre Pio, Fr. Solanus, and other figures of that type in this list of prominent persons of the 20th Century? He does list Mother Teresa, but it seems that his list is rather heavily weighted toward the social activist side of the spectrum.

But then, one must grant another's preferences and biases. No list of outstanding figures of the 20th century will include everyone. But one must wonder at such a list that excludes Pope John Paul II among others.

Oh well, I guess I've shown my hand.

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My feelings exactly. A convergence on principles, a divergence on practicals. You want to make the most of the former and the least of the latter, without going too far with either.

But then, one must grant another's preferences and biases.

Very true. And a good answer to some of Tom's quibbles.

But one must wonder at such a list that excludes Pope John Paul II among others.

Wonder indeed because JPII was one of the great advocates of non-violence in the 20th Century, from when he refused to take up arms against the Nazis to his staunch opposition to war and his strong teaching statements against all violence (quoted in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church).

To completely follow JPII, one needs to join his opposition to all violence.

God Bless

Perhaps this reflection will help :-


God Bless



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 15, 2007 8:12 AM.

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