without which no one can see God, consists in the following of
Christ. And the following of Christ consists in obedience to the
commands He has given. These commands are summarized in the
The first step in the following of
Christ is humility, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of
heart." This is the first Beatitude, to be "poor in
spirit." "If I, then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed
your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet."
In words and in action, Christ
showed humility through obedience. . .even obedience unto death. The
perfection in the following of Christ is when you have love for one
another as Christ has loved you.
"Come, follow Me." How
shall we do this? "Let him deny himself, take up his cross and
follow Me." This seems impossible. So the young man left
Christ, unable to do so; and the disciples became perplexed:
"Then, who can be saved?"
To follow Christ, we must keep His
commandments, which is only possible if God first pours His love in
us. "We love God because He first loved us." Only he
who loves God will keep His commands. He who does not love God has
no reason for keeping His commands (St. Augustine). That's why God
loved us first. He has poured out His love in us. Now, we have no
reason NOT to obey His commands.
In the Old Testament, the law was
given to prepare us to receive grace; in the New Testament, grace
was given that we may fulfill the commands of Christ.
God loves us. This love enables us
to obey the commands of Christ. Obedience to Christ's commands makes
us abide in the love of God. "If you keep My commandments, you
will abide in My love."
The WORK OF THE CHURCH is to bring
to remembrance and teach to understanding ALL the commands of
Christ. And these commands have been fully taught and explained and
demonstrated in the early Church. Nothing more can be added to them
nor subtracted from them. And this is the role of the Pope as head
of the Church. "He who hears you, hears Me."
The way of life described as the
following of Christ is first found in the oral Divine Tradition and
then later on outlined in Scriptures for the first Christians' easy
recall. So there was a time when there was no 'Scriptures', just
'Tradition'. And it was Tradition which later dictated what must be
the books that should make up the New Testament.
And so Christians must judge the
true way in the following of Christ, firstly, on the Tradition of
the Fathers of the Church and, secondly, on Scriptures. Everything
else can be judged as right or wrong in the same way.