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happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square,

during work, on a journey.”


Of course, being a disciple is a challenge. We

cannot live a life of discipleship alone. We need others to model lives of

discipleship and accompany us as we grow in the spiritual life and experi-

ence ongoing conversion. Similarly, as missionary disciples, we are called

to love and accept all people in a way that invites each person to a deeper

relationship with Christ and a greater alignment of their lives with his

teachings. However, we are not called to make judgments about others.

Pope Francis warns that we cannot truly know a “person’s situation before

God . . . from without.”


Pope Francis reminds us that the accompaniment aspect of becom-

ing a disciple offers us a chance to be truly present to others, especially to

those who are struggling: “Often it is better simply to slow down, to put

aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from

one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along

the way.”


The everyday moments of one’s life lived with Christian char-

ity, faith, and hope provide a witness to family members, friends, neigh-

bors, colleagues, and others who may have stopped actively participating

in the life of the Church or those who do not have a faith life. Sometimes,

we may need to accompany those in difficult situations to help them take

gradual steps toward restored sacramental communion.


This witness is

essential for reaching others in today’s world.

The Holy Father also calls us in a special way to accompany those in

difficult situations related to marriage:

Seeing things with the eyes of Christ inspires the Church’s pasto-

ral care for the faithful who are living together, or are only married

civilly, or are divorced and remarried. Following this divine pedagogy,

the Church turns with love to those who participate in her life in an

imperfect manner: she seeks the grace of conversion for them; she

encourages them to do good, to take loving care of each other and to

serve the community in which they live and work . . . When a couple

in an irregular union attains a noteworthy stability through a public

bond—and is characterized by deep affection, responsibility toward

the children and the ability to overcome trials—this can be seen as

an opportunity, where possible, to lead them to celebrate the sacra-

ment of Matrimony.