The Beauty of Discipline

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Today we’re going to talk about discipline. Not a fun topic, I know. If you turned and ran away right now, I wouldn’t blame you! But in today’s first reading from Hebrews 12, discipline is a main theme. So talk about it we must. In the Gospel reading from Mark 6, Jesus is not able to perform any mighty deeds in his native place. Why? “He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Once again, a lesson on the importance of faith.

Discipline. For many, the word itself conjures up negative images. In many areas of our lives, we lack it. If we all had a bit more discipline, we wouldn’t have such high obesity rates, right? Or maybe the word discipline conjures up memories of being hit with a belt or a ruler or a paddle or…well, whatever was in reach of dad or mom or teacher. That’s the kind of discipline that we could all have lived without, huh? Or is it?

The root of the word is disciple. Student. So discipline should not be thought of so much as punishment, but of being taught lessons. Discipline generally stinks. But the fruit of discipline is…well, discipline! Funny how that works. Here’s how the Sacred Author puts it: “At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” Not a bad trade off, huh? Temporary pain for eternal peace. I’ll take that.

Father, you know how we shy away from discipline. Help us today to endure your loving discipline, that we may reap its fruits in this life and the next. Amen.

 Today’s Readings

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1 comment

  • Carl: February 01, 2023

    I am willing to bet that the percent of professional or Olympic athletes who lack discipline is very small. Ask anyone who has served in the military how their view of the discipline they endured during basic training was appreciated if they saw combat.

    I imagine that it’s also a quality that is quite common among the saints.

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