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Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Lawn Chair Catechism
The seeker is actively seeking Jesus Christ. He is not yet following Him, but he’s considering it. When he makes the decision to drop his net and follow Jesus, he becomes a disciple.
We have found it useful to think of the two thresholds of seeking and intentional discipleship as a whole, as well as considering them as two separate stages. What both thresholds have in common is that they are active rather than essentially passive . . .Read the rest over at Catholicmom.com.
I think I missed a week. However the questions this week struck me deeply in part because of a nudged truth.
Here are the questions:
In your own faith:
Are you ready, spiritually, to acknowledge that certain leaders in your parish or diocese may not yet be disciples of Jesus? I know many wonderful people in our parish, but would not be ready to state who is not a disciple of Jesus for multiple reasons. 1) I do not know their faith stories and 2) I am not a person who could/would render that sort of judgment. Here, it seems the person I should be most concerned with developing into a disciple, is myself and those in my family. To me, the result would be, others get pulled deeper in, so I guess the answer would be no. I am not ready to acknowledge such a reality, not because it doesn't exist, but because I am not sure that is my job/vocation within the Parish.
Are you prepared to treat those persons graciously? To let go of past hurts? To respect them as they make their journey to discipleship? What I am willing to do, is pray for my parish, and for those I know, peripherally and personally, in positions of authority and otherwise, as all of us try to make this journey to become true disciples, whether we have yet to take the first real deliberate step, have stopped moving, or are struggling with going backwards, and to trust that being an authentic witness, and working with the Holy Spirit, we will have what within us that is broken be healed, and be pulled toward more authentic following of Jesus.
In your parish:
What is the spiritual atmosphere in your parish? Tired. Busy. We are a parish of Marthas. We do everything. We do all the time. There are 11 masses, there are three different languages, there is a 6 day a week soup kitchen, a pantry that gives out groceries, a school, the school is also the Parish Hall and it is open from 7 in the morning until 9 every single day. We have adoration, but few know of it, and there is a code to get into the room, so impulsive visits to the Blessed Sacrament are difficult. There is mass and confession 6 days a week. There is a lot of good. A lot of good, both out of habit and genuine thirst to do what is holy, but there is also a weariness that is tangible. At first I thought it was the economy, but to me, is a sense that we never merely are, we always are doing. Again, I may be projecting.
Have you noticed any change over the past several years? Less zeal. Less energy. Everyone is worn. We have fewer volunteers. Our Parish is divided by language. There are moments of great hope, like the Parish Picnic was a bridge builder, but there need to be more of them.
If God were to ask you to mentor a small group of seeking and new disciples in your parish, would you be ready to accept that task? Here is the question that struck me hardest. I am not sure. (That's a rare thing for me to say, I love volunteering, I love people, I love writing/thinking about my faith and sharing it). However that puts the focus on ME. And that's something that I know to be a problem. Great talker, lousy listener. Not sure I would be a good mentor, because my natural tendency to jump in and explain or talk or share, would crowd others out. For me to say, I'm not sure is huge. I can't tell if it is a sign of spiritual growth in acknowledging a fault, or a push from the Holy Spirit to sublimate myself should the situation arise. I know whenever I am asked to do anything, the first impulse is "Yes." However, I recently began saying "No." and oddly, the world didn't end, but I did mourn that saying "no." but also know, that mourning was in part ego wishing it could have been the one doing.
Then I went back and reread the question. And this was my honest response. If God asks, I would say yes.
There is just something in me that always wants to say yes but it does get crowded by ego and my life has been one of passive zeal, if God presented it to me, I went at it. I am the equivalent of God's puppy. You want me to come? I'll come. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! You want me to come. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Wait....what are we doing? Great! Not very reflective. The key difference, if I would be a disciple, is the active willing it. I'm just not sure what that means yet in terms of action, as I've almost always simply responded.