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Defining the Pillars - Discipleship

The overarching priorities of the Framework for Pastoral Action focus on discipleship, evangelization, and charity.We hear these words nearly every day, but we may need a better understanding of what they mean and how important they are in our pastoral efforts.

Catholic discipleship means encountering Jesus Christ within and through the Church. We strive to learn more
about Jesus, receiving Him fully in our lives and taking seriously our responsibility to share His love with others. “To be true disciples of Christ,” says Pope Francis, “one must stay true to Jesus' teachings, welcome His Light and profess our faith beyond our own individualism. Jesus speaks in the silence of the mystery of the Eucharist and reminds us each time that following Him means going out of ourselves and making our lives not something we‘possess,’ but a gift to Him and to others. Our lives don’t belong to us.”

But at the same time, the pope adds “Our baptism makes us ‘missionary disciples’ within the communion of theChurch. On the one hand, we never stop being disciples – learning, receiving. On the other hand, we are also called to the mission, to share what we have received, what we live, which is the experience of love, and of faith in the Trinity.”

As disciples, we embrace Christ’s love, and we form ourselves through piety and study, but our discipleship alsomust point outward. As Pope Francis describes it, “If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.”

As disciples, we not only must cultivate our own Catholic faith, we must also reach out to others, share our faithwith them and encourage them.