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Becoming Disciples

arms_shades3Baptism, although essential for salvation, is only the beginning of our life in Christ. In response to God's free and unmerited gift of grace poured out upon us in our Baptism, we are called by the Lord Jesus to become His disciples. A Christian disciple is a student who learns a complete, coherent, comprehensive Way of Life from the Lord Jesus. According to the Second Vatican Council,

The followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to His own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus because, in the Baptism of faith, they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way they are really made holy. Then too, by God's gift, they must hold on to and complete in their lives this holiness they have received. (Lumen Gentium, 40)

In Jesus Christ – and only in Jesus Christ – do we come to know who we really are: immortal persons created in the image and likeness of God and chosen by Christ to share in His divine nature. In the words of Pope John Paul II,

Jesus is 'the new man' (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) who calls redeemed humanity to share in His divine life. The mystery of the Incarnation lays the foundation for an anthropology which… moves toward God himself, indeed toward the goal of 'divinization.' This occurs through the grafting of the redeemed onto Christ and their admission into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life. (Novo Millennio Ineuente, 23)

In becoming students of the Lord Jesus and by following Him in the Way of the Cross, we become like Him. Discipleship is the process by which Jesus Christ makes us holy and transforms us into His likeness: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Galatians 2:20) 

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