We’re starting our Lawn Chair Catechism! The first post is up over at CatholicMom.com, and I’m joining the discussion. We will be studying and discussing Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples, for free this summer! All comers are welcome…easy-as-pie free study guide, or cheap-for-you copies of the book should make this a great summer book group for Catholic mamas.
In her introduction, Sherry describes how she discovered that most parishioners do not have a relationship with God.
We learned that the majority of even “active” American Catholics are still at an early, essentially passive stage of spiritual development. . . . We discovered, to our surprise and dismay, that many pastoral leaders do not even possess a conceptual category for discipleship. As long as this holds true, the theology of the laity and the Church’s teaching on social justice and evangelization will remain beautiful ideals that are, practically speaking, dead letters for the vast majority of Catholics.
As a convert, I have an interesting point of view . In my circles people LEFT the Catholic Church to experience a personal conversion and start walking with the Lord. Protestants eyes popped open when I became a Catholic,
” You are spirit filled and then you became Catholic?? You’re kidding right?”
The most adamant opposition I received was from former Catholics . Most former Catholics do not even realize that it is possible to have a personal relationship with Christ the Saviour. The Holy Spirit is not their most intimate companion and they don’t have a clue how to worship the Father “in Spirit and in truth”. Most people leave the Catholic Church to become disciples of Jesus because many Protestant churches are warm, friendly, welcoming and they know how to nurture new disciples. There are courses and study groups on how to walk as a Christian, on prayer, scriptures and lifestyle.
Yet because I already had a deep prayer life and a gift of discernment, I knew that God was calling me into the Church. He place a hunger for the Eucharist within me that was too strong to ignore. However the last straw was when Mary came to live in my heart. Nobody but the Catholic Church understood this new aspect to my faith. I could hardly handle it because my mind was still Protestant and I protested loudly, fearing that I was a heretic to true Christian beliefs.
Once a person is in a relationship with God there is no better place to grow in holiness than the Catholic Church. A veil lifted off my eyes and I devoured books on contemplation, prayer and the lives of the saints. Even the documents of Vatican 11 seemed alive and full of the Spirit of truth. So the problem is to evangelize faithful Catholics and introduce them to a personal relationship with Him. After a fire has been lit within them, everything else they need to grow is already available, part of the rich spiritual tradition of the Church.
My introduction to the Church was through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and this grass level movement did introduce Catholics to the life of a disciple but many leaders were against it. This time it has to be blessed from the leaders in the Church, especially the Pope. The result will be a revival in the Catholic Church that will spread the fire of God over all the earth.