Welcome to the third session of Lawn Chair Catechism, using Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, by Sherry Weddell (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
This week, we’ll be covering Chapter 2: We Don’t Know What Normal Is.
In her extensive research, Sherry Weddell learned that most Catholics consider their relationship with God a forbidden topic – too private to discuss with others. What we don’t hear about, we don’t know is possible:
One of our most surprising discoveries has been how many Catholics don’t even know that this personal, interior journey exists. A high-level, cradle-Catholic leader on the West Coast acknowledged to me recently that the very idea of a personal relationship with God was still new to him. The possibility had only dawned upon him for the first time a few years ago, when his parish started offering evangelizing retreats.
Our idea of “normal” Christian life is skewed. We consider an interest in the spiritual life to be an exception, and not the norm. To combat this mistake, the first Catholic discipleship group Sherry belonged to wrote a series of resolutions as part of their mission statement (here are a few excerpts from their longer list):
. . . It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be excited Christian activists.
. . . It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be knowledgeable of their faith, the Scriptures, the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church, and the history of the Church.
. . . It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to have fellowship of other committed lay Catholics available to them, to encourage, nurture, and discern as they attempt to follow Jesus.
. . . It is NORMAL for the local parish to function consciously as a house for formation for lay Catholics . . ..
In your own faith:
- Are you comfortable talking with others about your relationship with God?
- Would you say that you’re a “normal” Catholic using the criteria outlined above?
- Or are you a “typical” Catholic, fighting that feeling that interest in the faith is only for a few pious eccentrics?
In your parish:
- Do you personally have, within your parish, a group of Catholics you meet with regularly, to discuss the faith, study the faith, and encourage each other to greater virtue?
- At this time, does your parish have in place a working system for actively mentoring those who want to grow in their relationship with God?
Join the discussion!
We’ll be “talking” in the combox, too, so please leave your thoughts there as well!