Welcome to the first session of Lawn Chair Catechism. I've included the link to Sarah Reinhard's piece over at Catholic Mom. I downloaded the book for my PC and will be participating. I loved the questions.
How would I describe my lived relationship with God to this point in my life?
It is amazing to me how that question led to such a quiet yet familiar place. He has always been there. I have at my fingertips, 1000 miracles, 1000 moments where I knew God loved me for me, no matter how stupid, foolish, arrogant, lazy, disorganized, mad or ignorant I was. I could list times when I've howled to God, and times when I've begged, and times when I've felt His presence and known that prayers have been answered. How would I describe my lived relationship with God to this point in my life? I have been heavily courted, lavishly showered with grace, all to show me that all He requires is my obedience and my gift of trust in Him. God has knocked every day, every moment of every hour. Sometimes, I have opened my heart. Sometimes, I have not.
But whenever I've talked to God the Father, He has answered. He is faithful. He is listening. He is ever loving and always generous. It is hard not to sound rhapsodic. The darkest and most unhappy I have ever been, God has been there, I was not alone.
My relationship with Jesus has always needed more work. I love His words and I love the Eucharist, but I often feel I keep Christ at more of a distance than I do God the Father. I hesitate in prayers directly to Jesus. It is here that my relationship with God reveals its brokenness. Over the years, meditation on the Rosary has helped to pull me further in, but I need all the help of all the mysteries to become more familiar with Mary's son.
The Holy Spirit and I have always been deep friends. I wear a medal that is a replica of the one I received back in 1974 when my tracheonomy was removed. The Holy Spirit I have always loved and felt, I knew something of this Great Advocate. I remember my Confirmation, I wanted to feel the whoosh of being given that grace. I didn't feel it, but I knew it anyway. However, because I always felt familiar with the Holy Spirit, I did not until recently begin to seriously study what the gifts of the Pentecost mean, what being on fire with the Holy Spirit does to the soul. But I'm perpetually reminded that an organic relationship with anyone is insufficient to develop it into a deeper one, ergo I need to go beyond simply sending up a Hail Mary or a prayer when I need something or feel something deeply.
Thus I am starting to recognize, we are always at baseline, for coming to know God is diving into the mystery of perfect love, of infinite love, and that is an inexhaustible relationship that will always draw us deeper. All acts in conformity with God's will are deliberate. Thus, we can never become accidental saints. I need to start being deliberate in relationship with God, out of love for God, rather than have to have life constantly remind me I need to pray or I need to talk to God or I need to act out of love to others.
What does the word “discipleship” mean to you? Do you perceive a need in the Church today to help lay Catholics become more fervent followers of Jesus Christ?
Discipleship means more than friend and more than follower. To me, it means faithful servant, who feeds the poor, who prays and receives the sacraments frequently, and whose mission as called by God, is always to go outward, to catch more fish.
The problem is our modern world encourages sitting, resting on our relationship with others, keeping all friendships in a permanent static level, with little shared and no suffering. To those who seek a relationship with God, haven't you done enough? Don't you pray enough? Aren't you worried about being a fanatic?
Yes, yes I am worried. Because I am a fearful thing who likes to be liked but I know,
we can never serve, love, give or pray enough, nor can our hearts be satisfied with less than the infinity that is God. God gave me ten children. There is always a need that is not yet being met. There is always a need for more love, more time, more sublimating of self. I admittedly have a long list of times when I've essentially stomped and said, "No! I will not serve." and then been crushed until I said, "Okay." Because God has mercifully not given up on eroding away all my stubbornness. I suspect He wants to use me as bait.
The Catholic Church needs all the members of its body to be more fervent followers of Jesus Christ. We want to see everyone at the wedding feast, so we want no one left behind. No one forgotten. The only way we can catch the most souls, is if we're all out there fishing.
Where do I need to grow and go? Always, outward, always deeper, always more than what I do, and less. My spirit is noisy. I have trouble listening. I like the sound of my own voice, which sometimes means I cannot hear God's whispers. I scare away the fish with my noise. I need to learn to be like Mary, to be still and know.