Theology of Religious Life
-Why is there a theology of religious life?
-What distinguishes a lay person from a religious?
Ingredients of a Theology of Religious Life
1. Response to call from God.
** 2. A call to discipleship.**
-In the Old Testament all people are called to be people of God but we see that from within the group God chose certain individuals from among the larger group for a special role.
-In the New Testament everyone is called into a common discipleship.
-We also see that there are those called into special discipleship.
Example: The 12 Apostles.
** Why does He call people into special discipleship?**
a). To be with Jesus Christ.
** b) To proclaim the Good news. Call to live Christ’s style and form of life.**
** c) The Religious consecrates self by vows:**
** d) Call to live in Community.**
** e) Call to live out the charism of the founder/foundress and of the congregation.**
** f) A call to religious life is a call approved and regulated by the Church.**
-Jesus did not invent the idea of discipleship. This idea was already being lived out in the Old Testament. He took a perplexing social reality and gave it a new meaning.
** Traits of Jewish Discipleship**
- Discipleship moved into the household of the Rabbi and lived with him 24 hrs. a day.–Living with the teacher was not part time…often it was lifetime.
- In a household there were often other disciples–A relationship to the rabbi and to other members of the rabbi’s household.
- Disciples shared in every aspect of teachers life, joys, successes, sorrows, and sufferings.
- Disciples served the needs of their teachers.
- The relationship to the Rabbi was similar to the son with a father–He was obedient.
- The disciples strove to become like the teacher in every way by:
a) Observing, watching the teacher. How he lived, what he did and said.
b) He listened to what the teacher taught by what he did and said.
- The disciples shared in the life of his teacher, the mission of his teacher.
- The disciple not only did the work of his teacher, but did it in the same way. * We share in the activities bu which Jesus lived.
a) Teacher of faith
b) Priest who have life on the cross–shared through the liturgy.
c) Shepherd who: i) gathers sheep and brings them together
ii) leads the sheep
iii) protects the sheep
iv) heals the wounded sheep
v) goes in search of the lost sheep
God Tells us Some Things About Special Discipleship
- The call to a special discipleship comes from God.
- This call is not given to everyone.
- This call is often unexpected.
- The call is communicated either directly by God or indirectly by a third person–as with some of the disciples.
- God the Father’s sovereign choice–“ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his vineyard.” Jesus prayed and asked the Father, whom shall I choose (when he spent the night in prayer)
- No one is worthy or fit to be called special disciples. God does not called the qualified, he qualifies the call (1 Cor. 1:18-31), (2 Cor. 11:30), (2 Cor. 12:10)
- The vocation to be a special disciple is a radical and totalitarian (Lk 5:11), (Lk.9:61-62).
- Special discipleship is a full time occupation which calls one to give up everything not compatible for full time discipleship.
- Special discipleship is a permenant vocation not a temporary one.
- There is a special reward for special disciples. (Matt.19:29)
- The purpose of special discipleship is two fold:
a). To be with Him
**b) To be sent,**proclaim,make happen the Good News in the world.
Jesus Disciples of the Father
1. Vocation of Jesus the Disciple–His response to his call
Jesus’ vocation is doing what the Father commands him to do. (John 10:10-11)
The Father appealed to the love of Jesus for him…Do you love me enough– (Jn. 3:16) (21:15-19).
-Jesus asked, 'Do you love me.’ not my people, my apostolate, my ministry, etc. The first thing he wants to know is if Peter loves him.
2. How dis Jesus respond to his call
There are no ifs, no buts, no maybe’s, no holding back. Jesus said, “here I am, everything I have, am can do…I give them to you.”
(Heb.10:5-7), (Ps.40:6-8), (Phil.2:5-8).
*** Am I ready to belong to someone else, everything I am, have, can do…belongs to someone else.**
-Who disposes of how I SPEND MY TIME. Others or me. (Isaiah 53: 3-5).
Traits of Jesus as Disciple
** 1. Just as I need food, I need to be obedient to the Father to complete his work. **
Jesus was obedient. Obedience comes from a Latin word obdire which means Obedience means we open ourselves to God’s will. It’s not always easy.
Obedience calls me as a religious to be a stewardship of self, of my gifts. In my vow to obedience I have vowed to use the gifts that God has given me.