Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

At the beginning of chapter 11 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he says: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Sometimes I hear a familiar Scripture and something new jumps out at me, and this is one of those times.
The audacity of Paul really jumped out at me. Imagine your pastor getting up at the pulpit and admonishing the people to be good disciples of Jesus and then he summarizes by saying, “Look, just do what I do. Please stand for the Creed.” This is essentially what is happening at the end of chapter 10 and the first verse of chapter 11. Then I thought to myself, “Yeah, Paul can say that. He walked the walk.” And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. If I can’t say, “Follow my example,” then I need to start walking the walk much better.
I think this is especially true for parents. Our children should learn from our example more than from our words. We need to model for them what it looks like to be an authentic disciple of Jesus. Our words can help to explain why we do certain things in certain ways, but they should be an expounding of the lessons we teach by our actions.
The most awful feeling I have as a dad is when I hear or see a negative behavior of mine being manifested in one of my children. I recall my oldest daughter sitting in the back seat of my truck playing with dolls when she was about 18 months old. I am not sure what happened, but she got frustrated at something and said, “Doggon it!” Only she didn’t say it that way! It was a pretty mild use of inappropriate language, but it sounded awful to me. I knew then that I had to have greater custody of my tongue.
We should live in such a way that we can join Paul in saying “be imitators of me.”
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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