Archive for May, 2013

This post is part of‘s Lawn Chair Catechism summer reading project, an online discussion of Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples. Who wants to join the linkup? The discussion questions from the study guide for this week are below (in bold), with my answers.

In your own faith: How would you describe your lived relationship with God to this point in your life?
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?
Even as a child, I was blessed to feel drawn to the spiritual (I loved going to Mass!), yet I’ve always felt frustrated, like the dog at the racetrack, chasing the “rabbit” but never allowed to catch it! There have been times I’ve gotten a taste — and tried to share it — but I have the twin “anti-charisms” of lack of persistence/flightiness and noncontagious excitement.
I don’t have much of an idea of “discipleship” (I’ve mostly heard it in Protestant contexts.), but I do think that most of us who call ourselves Catholic need a spark for our own spiritual lives, and to share with others.
In your parish: How would you describe your parish’s current efforts at discipleship? A hotbed of discipleship? A weekly gathering of spiritual sleep-walkers? Or perhaps something in between?
To the extent I understand the term “discipleship,” I would say weak: We have a few groups (though not large and varied enough for a parish of our size) and some real go-getters who drive them, but most of us come and go from Mass, with a few waves here and there, and an occasional activity beyond (parish festival, Vacation Bible School, sacrament prep, etc.). I think most of the families are sincere Catholics, but we are busy elsewhere and no one in the parish expresses much of a practical need/interest for us to do more.

Connie Rossini, of the fascinating Contemplative Homeschool Carmelite-themed blog, was kind enough send me an early review copy of her e-book Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life.

Five Lessons is a very small book (a 21-page PDF), easily savored in one quiet sitting, that can help anyone — Carmelite or not! — reorient herself to what matters most in her life,  an excellent way to start the summer break!

In each lesson, she shares a few short meditation-starters, quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the great Carmelite reformers, Ss. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and then gives a brief reflection about the quotes. Finally, she gives practical suggestions. Each lesson builds in strength on the previous lessons.

I found her fourth lesson most useful: “Little things matter (a lot). Think God doesn’t care about your addiction to caffeine? Think again. If you want to be holy, you must be willing to give up everything for love of God. …”

Most helpfully, she links to more in-depth reflections on her blog, such as her posts about prayer, and gives a bibliography; this little e-book will whet your appetite for a banquet of spiritual reading. She also gives links to places online where those who are interested can discuss their reflections on the book.

Finally, Connie has a second excellent new blog for those interested in exploring the variety of spiritual approaches the Faith offers, at Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network.

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