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August 24, 2008

What Does It Take to Be a True Disciple?
     During the Olympic Games of the past two weeks we have had the opportunity to see and hear a great deal about the champions regardless of the sport.  Many nations have had the chance to compete and many have succeeded in bringing home the gold, silver or bronze.  Of course, China and the US have come out on top in many more instances but that did not prevent the smaller, poorer countries from competing against these two giants of the world.  One country, (I don’t remember which one) sent only one person to represent them.  One person came into the arena on that first night and carried the flag of his nation.  If nothing else, his cheering section had to be very limited.  We could not help but admire the courage and determination of the this person.

    As the weeks progressed we heard many stories and saw many examples of persons who truly deserved to be honored world wide.  The hard work, injuries overcome, personal challenges affecting individual players, all came together on the world’s stage to present a truly heroic play of events.  If we take some time to reflect on these stories we cannot help but admire the great courage and strength of character of each one of these Olympians. And this is precisely what we need if we eventually want to be true disciples of Christ.

    As Christians who are attempting to follow the person of Christ and his Gospel values.  The analogy to Olympians may sound a bit strange at first but it is very possible that the Olympians have something to teach us in our pursuit to holiness.  Let’s take a look at the two entities.  An Olympic champion is a human being who has taken up the challenge to succeed in a particular sport.  They set their goal on success and do not allow anything to distract them.  They accept the long hours of training which often produces pain and fatigue.  They sacrifice many social events that may interfere with their sport.  They remain focused and determined because they believe that winning a medal is all worth it.

    If we are serious about our discipleship we can definitely learn from these points.  We will never be good disciples if we do not take the challenge seriously.  We too must be determined to focus on the goal.  We must not allow our culture or society or perhaps family and friends to distract us.  There are sacrifices to be made.  Perhaps what we often lack is a good mentor (coach), i.e. someone who can guide us and keep us on track.  Even the best athlete would not attempt to do it on their own. 

    Lastly, one thread that seemed to weave itself throughout the games was the moral support that each athlete was receiving, most often from their parents or siblings as well as from their coach and fellow teammates.  This support appeared to be vital to their energy level.  This is not unlike our Christian life.  We all need support to go on.  When we fail to support one another we are making it extremely difficult for one another.  Whether we are parents, sibling, friends or fellow parishioners, we must remember that we play an important role in the life’s blood of the life of the church.  No one can stand alone.  The question that arises from all of this is: Are we prepared to meet and accept the challenge?  Why not take time to pray over it?

                                Lorette P. Nault