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Discipleship - Jesus' mission was to spread the Word of God, this was his dream. His vision was that things could be better and he needed followers to help him achieve his mission.

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Introduction

Discipleship Jesus' mission was to spread the Word of God, this was his dream. His vision was that things could be better and he needed followers to help him achieve his mission. In Mark's gospel, he introduces the first four disciples; he mentions how they obeyed Jesus and how they gave up everything to follow him. Simon and Andrew were preparing themselves to go fishing, along came Jesus and he said, "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men." The brothers left their things at once and followed him. He did exactly the same thing to James and John, sons of Zebedee. Jesus wanted them to come and be his disciples, he wanted them to help to bring people closer to God and to turn away from sin. Jesus never met these men before and they certainly did not know Jesus, yet when Jesus called upon them, they left everything, responded rapidly by following him. It shows from one glance they trusted and believed in what Jesus had to say to them. Jesus made a huge impact on them, the disciples obviously had great trust and fondness of him, also dedication to become a disciple. He made them forget about themselves in order to serve God. Jesus did not want his disciples to be a rabbi, member of the council or any other important position. He was looking for ordinary men, to take up his important role for them. The first four disciples were only fisherman and were no one special. Yet Jesus thought there was something deep inside their hearts which did make them special. ...read more.

Middle

Professional followers want to seriously & faithfully re-enact as the life of a disciple & follow Jesus. The religious life of contemplative nuns is to give up everything to follow Jesus, help Jesus to preach through prayer. They take 3 vows: to live in poverty, chasity & obedience. Active nuns do take these vows aswell but the difference is they preach by helping others in the community. They could help raise money, help children in need, teach etc. Priests also follow the life of a disciple. They promise God celibacy. They preach the word to their parish community & administer the sacraments. St Francis of Assisi Francis was an Italian preacher. His father was a wealthy merchant. In a battle, Francis was kept captive in Perugia. While in prison he suffered a severe illness & then he tried to alter his life. Assisi, 1205, he set up charities among lepers & began working on the repair of run-down churches. He did this because he had reportedly had a vision & the crucifix of the ruined chapel of San Damiano at Assisi ordered him to repair it. His change of character & his charity work infuriated his father, who disinherited him. Francis got rid of his rich garments for a bishop's cloak & devoted himself to the care of outcasts & lepers in Mount Subasio. Francis began preaching & gathered 12 disciples who became the original brothers of the 'First Order'. In 1224, after 40 days of fasting, Francis was praying on Monte Alverno, when he felt pain mingled with joy, the marks of the crucifixion of Christ, the stigmata appeared on his body, resembling the heads of nails. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is not easy facing strangers for your first Sunday in a new Parish. You get used to it though. Why are there not as many people making this commitment now as in the past? There are of course the third world countries - the seminaries are full. This is partly due to the fact that in those countries people still respect & value the priesthood & becoming a priest offers a good education & some status in society. These are not the best reasons but they explain why in the past so many became priests - it was also part of the culture as in Ireland. Families were more prayerful & united - also had more children. People expected you to become a priest. Today there are so many other opportunities to get further education & so many jobs to do. Priests do not earn much money - there is no wage as such. It is all charity. People today find it hard to make any kind of commitment - hence the fall in marriages & rise in living together. The issue of celibacy must also put some people off. Many want to marry & have a family. There is less respect & status involved on being a priest but there is still some. Today many who become priests do so in their thirties after a university education & good job. They often come from non-religious backgrounds & may have become Catholics at university. So people today do not become priests for the money or status. They often have plenty of that - they become priests to help others & to make a difference. But in some places the seminaries are full - we have African & Polish priests serving in our parishes now. ...read more.

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