There is a difference between being religious and being a follower of Christ:
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. -James 1:26, NAB
As we continue our journey of faith, we sometimes get overly focused on our religion and lose sight of Christ. Being a good, religious Catholic is important, but being a devoted follower of Christ is what really matters.
What’s the difference?
Following Christ involves more than just mimicking His actions or saying that we are a member of His Church. It is love that matters. Our love for Christ needs to be the driving force behind our thoughts and actions. We are not just Catholic on the outside; we are a Catholic on the inside, as well.
Devoting ourselves to serving others in ministry is important, yet it means little if we don’t love those we are helping – even strangers. Following Christ’s example, He did not heal the sick, cure the blind, or offer forgiveness to the people as a show of power. They were a reflection of His love for them.
Today, we may study Scripture, read books from great Catholic authors, serve our community, pray the rosary daily, and attend Mass regularly, but there is more to our Catholic faith than that. These actions need to come from the heart to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.
Being Catholic goes beyond the practice of our religion. It is our passion and devotion to Christ and His Church that truly define us. Are you religious? Or are you a follower and disciple of Christ, the One who loved beyond measure?