Faith and Life

Rules of Discipleship

Faith. It’s all about the rules. It’s about knowing what needs to be done – what is demanded of us – and doing it as perfectly as possible. It’s about following the rules as closely as possible, fulfilling them to the absolute best of our ability.

The real question, of course, is this – what rules? They are very simple. In fact, there are only two of them, and here they are –

You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.. and you shall love your neighbour as yourself.

Saint Matthew, in his Gospel, puts it very plainly. And indeed it is plain.

We tend to get so wrapped up when it comes to rules and regulations in the faith – and certainly, there is a place for these. But they need to be seen as supporting and encouraging something else, something deeper and far, far greater; our relationship with Christ the Lord and, through and with Him, with the Father.

Faith isn’t a television show, a competition where we are marked on how well we do particular things related to our faith; we won’t get to our Particular Judgement and find ourselves being scored on the depth of our genuflection, the knowledge we have of the rubrics of the Mass, or the superficial perfection with which we appeared to be Christian. No. All those things may have a place, but they are the incidentals and not the essentials. They are the surface things, which say something about that much deeper reality toward which they point. But they themselves are not that much deeper reality. Something we can be liable to forget unless we are careful.

At the last, we will be judged on one thing only – love. Our love of God and our love of neighbour.

I remember once being in a church. A young girl came in who went close to the altar and did a very gentle little dance – it was as though she was presenting this as a gift to the Lord in the Tabernacle. At the same time, there was an older gentleman present and as the child did this, he tutted in a stage whisper, so that his thoughts on the matter were unmistakable. I can recall wondering which of the two were more likely to have made the Lord smile that day. I’m sure both did, albeit for different reasons – but I’ll bet the child made the Lord smile more broadly.

God isn’t a quizmaster who will test us on our knowledge of this, that or the other. He is a Father – a loving Father.

I think we are in for something of a surprise when we find ourselves standing before Him.



Catholic | Retired Nurse | UK

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: