Conditions of a Disciple

North Texas Catholic
(Jun 18, 2024) Faith-Inspiration

Young adults join hands in prayer during Mass. (Cathopic/Yandry Fernández Perdomo)

I’ve been reading the Book of Acts in my prayer life lately, and I noticed a trend of the early Christian communities.

 After Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, their subsequent commission was to leave the upper room and go preach the Gospel to the world. In this time, there were very specific parameters for how Christian communities would live.

Acts 2:42 says “they devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” Every day was devoted to meeting together, both in spiritual life and working life. And it says from this communal life, “every day the Lord added to their numbers those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). There was something different about the ways these groups of early Christians lived that was so attractive and appealing that daily people were leaving behind their former ways of living to join this “movement.”

It wasn’t one popular podcast, speaker, conference, retreat, online course, or social media page that attracted many followers. It was the way in which early Christians lived their normal, ordinary, mundane everyday life infused with the outpouring of grace given by the Holy Spirit.

Most people I meet have conversion moments at events, but then they go back to their daily living with almost no change at all. We wait for these “retreat highs” that inevitably come when our hearts are open to the outpouring of grace, but when we leave, what do we go back to? How do we live in intentional community? What are the conditions and nonnegotiables for being a disciple, a follower of the Lord?

The answer is laid out in Acts 2:42: teaching of the Apostles (the Word of God), communal life, breaking of bread (sacraments), and prayer. These four things aren’t just merely good suggestions for people that seem to be “super” holy, but are basic commands of a disciple, even to this day.

First, the teachings of the Apostles. We have written down the revelations given to them by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. You can know the nature of God through the revelations of Jesus Christ, God made flesh. Learn how God loves people, how He corrects, how He performs miracles, how He interacts with people, how He recreates, rests, plays, loves, etc. The Word of God can transform your heart and your life the more you read it and allow it to transform your mind. Get into the Word of God daily.

Second, the communal life. We cannot do this life alone. Even in our different callings and vocations, God’s design is for us to be in community, living life with other believers. If you read about the majority of the saints’ lives, they usually always came in pairs and groups. Jesus had Twelve Apostles He lived closely with and even three intimate people who were in His inner circle.

Third, breaking of the bread. The sacramental life shouldn’t just be reserved for an hour on Sundays and reconciliation twice a year. That’s a good start, but the more we participate in the life and grace of Jesus, freely given to us in the sacraments, the more we can be transformed into Christ.

And finally, prayer. We need a daily prayer life in which daily we intentionally communicate with the One who created us, allowing Him to replace our stony hearts with His heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

I believe these four things aren’t just ancient practices that are good ideas for Christians now but are fundamentals on which we build our entire life with Christ.

Ask the Holy Spirit which of the four areas He wants you to focus on and trust that He will give you the grace to accomplish all that He is asking of you.

Book of Acts, prayer life, Catholic trends, early Christian communities, trending-english