From one disciple to another

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles


Create in me, O God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit.

Psalm 51:12

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D.

Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute

This verse, from the readings at Mass on Ash Wednesday, remind us of the paramount consideration in leading, living and loving as S3 Jesus-like leaders. We must constantly strive to align our hearts with Jesus' own -- focusing our lives as he focused his own always and everywhere doing the will of our Father. This is a journey of a lifetime. We can always do better.

The Paulist Press Ordo says "the purpose of the first part of Lent is to bring us to compunction." Compunction refers to an uneasiness about what we have done and what we have failed to do. But the Ordo notes that the root of the word is related to "puncture." So Lent is a time when we should be about the business of deflating our inflated egos. We should see it as "a challenge to any self-deceit about the quality of our lives as disciples of Jesus."

That is not to say Lent is a time to beat ourselves up or to bathe ourselves in proverbial "Catholic guilt." Instead, it is a time to acknowledge two things: first, that any good we achieve comes to us by the grace of God, and second, that when it comes to discipleship, we can always do better if we but open our hearts wider to God's loving graces.

Lent's traditional practices -- prayer, fasting and almsgiving -- give us a way to do that. Of course, the point is not to achieve a victory, but rather to achieve greater surrender to the will of the Father. Ironically, as we let go of our self-sufficiency, we find God's own steadfast Spirit stirring ever deeper in our hearts. And that, my friends, is the foundation of true discipleship ... and Jesus-like leadership.

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