In GDC 53-56, we will examine the topic of “conversion and faith” Let’s read first:
53. In proclaiming the Good News of Revelation to the world, evangelization invites men and women to conversion and faith. (Cf. Rm 10:17; Lumen Gentium 16 and Ad Gentes 7; cf. CCC 846-848) The call of Jesus, “Repent and believe in the Gospel”, (Mk 1,15) continues to resound today by means of the Church’s work of evangelization. The Christian faith is, above all, conversion to Jesus Christ, (cf. Ad Gentes 13a) full and sincere adherence to his person and the decision to walk in his footsteps. (cf. Catechesi Tradendae 5b) Faith is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ making, of oneself a disciple of him. This demands a permanent commitment to think like him, to judge like him and to live as he lived. (cf. Catechesi Tradendae 20b) In this way the believer unites (her or) himself to the community of disciples and appropriates the faith of the Church. (cf. CCC 166-167)
It’s the basic definition of Christianity, after all. A person converts to Christ, assents to Christ, and decides to follow. Pick your Gospel story–there are several.
Note the distinctions made with the “personal encounter” and the “community of disciples.” Christianity is not a cult: we do not unite to the community first, and form a person’s thoughts and actions afterward. There must be a conscious choice to respond to grace, and allow oneself to be taken under the wing of Christ. A disciple is more an apprentice than a classroom student. The expectation is that often the believer will fail. We even account for it in our sacramental system.
What do you readers make of this brief passage? John Paul II adds a bit here, doesn’t he?