Follow Me

When I was younger, I never said no to God, I just never said yes. That phrase is perhaps a perfect description and summary of my spiritual life through the age of 31. I would guess that this high level of Spirituality is quite impressive to you and now you know why they ask me to write for The Anchor!

Seriously though, those first 31 years were pretty basic faith-wise. I did what I was supposed to do or perhaps better stated, what I had to do. I surely didn’t go out of my way to live out my faith. Most often I did things because they looked good or they made me feel good. Hardly what a disciple of Christ is called to do or be. 

It wasn’t until my wife convinced me to go on a Cursillo retreat did my life change for what I now know is the better. That weekend was the catalyst that began to change what was a superficial relationship with God into something deeper and more meaningful. 

I remember when I returned from that retreat weekend, I put up a small plaque in our room that stated, “Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet.” Thirty-one years after that Cursillo weekend, the plaque is still there, and I am still trying to become that disciple God wants me to be or knows I can be. I thank God every day that He is still patient with me and so is my wife!

So how do we become good Christian disciples? If we turn to the Bible, I think we will find the instructions. It is a simple demand. Only two words. Do you want to venture a guess what that phrase is before reading further?

It’s — Follow Me. 

These two words contain in a nutshell what God wants of us, and what we should regard as an obligation we have towards God in this life. The phrase appears at least 20 times in the Gospels. So, I think it is safe to conclude that to be a Christian disciple means to follow the Lord. Period. Seems very clear to me now. 

There is no way to get to know the Lord except by doing what He did, behaving as He did and taking His basic principles of life and making them our own. 

In calling us, God asks us whether we are willing to help Him reach others so that all will be saved. Our calling is an invitation from God not because of any merit on our part but just because He chose us out of love, because He wanted us. Anyone who asks this question “why was I called?” will only get the answer God had already given to the chosen people in the Old Testament: “I did not choose you because you were more virtuous, more gifted, more suited. No, I chose you because I loved you.” This means we are someone; We have a place in God’s plan; We are important for God’s great design for Creation; we are partners; our lives count. 

Of course, it isn’t and it won’t be easy at times to hold onto this Divine dimension in our lives. Fortunately for us, God’s faithfulness prevails over all our failures and unfaithfulness. When God chooses someone, He will stand by that person no matter how unfaithful the person may turn out to be. If something is obvious about God in the Bible it is His faithfulness to us and, in particular, to those whom He has called to help Him accomplish His purposes. If I refuse, God will not stop loving me, but He might have to use others to reach me. Remember it was my wife that God first used, to reach me, so that I could say YES! Perhaps He is using me to reach you today as you read these words. So, what is your response going to be? 

As you continue on your life’s journey, I hope that you will not wait 31 years to answer God’s call to true discipleship with not just words, but action! 

To sum things up, I’d like to share this simple prayer with you. My hope is that it will speak to you as it has spoken to me:

“Lord... 

“You asked for my hands that You might use them for Your purpose. I gave them for a moment, then withdrew them for the work was hard. 

“You asked for my mouth to speak out against injustice. I gave You a whisper that I might not be accused. 

“You asked for my eyes to see the pain of poverty. I closed them for I did not want to see. 

“You asked for my life that You might work through me. I gave a small part that I might not get too involved. 

“Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve You only when it is convenient for me to do so, only in those places where it is safe to do so, and only with those who make it easy to do so. 

“Lord, forgive me, renew me, send me out as a usable instrument that I might take seriously the call to follow You.” 

— Seremane, “Bread of Tomorrow”

Anchor columnist Frank Lucca is a pretty ordinary permanent deacon in the Diocese of Fall River, a youth minister at St. Dominic’s Parish in Swansea and St. George Parish in Westport, and a campus minister at UMass Dartmouth. He is married to his wife of 39 years, Kristine, and the father of two daughters and their husbands, and three grandsons. So blessed!

Comments, ideas or suggestions? Please email him at DeaconFrankLucca@comcast.net

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