Break the Silence.

10-LawnChairCatechismSquareWelcome to the 10th session of Lawn Chair Catechism, using Forming Intentional Disciples: The by Sherry Weddell:  

The first thing that must be done is to deliberately and persistently break the code of silence if it is in place.  The Catholic norm of silence about a relationship with God, about Jesus Christ and his story, about our own stories of following Christ, and about the need for everyone to decide whether or not he or she will follow as a disciple is stifling the emergence of a culture of discipleship and all that flows from it.

A “threshold conversation” is the practice of asking others about their relationship with God, and then listening.

For discussion:

  • Have you ever listened to a “threshold conversation”?  What was it like?
  • Can you think back to a time when perhaps you should have listened supportively and asked clarifying questions, and instead you jumped in with catechesis, or apologetics, or giving personal advice?

For me, the unfinished painting  by Mary Young Casset, symbolizes man breaking out of the bondage of silence by reaching out to the light, to God, to the community of God. Catholics are reluctant to articulate their personal relationship to God. Many have not made a concious decision to become a disciple. I find, though that if they are not self-righteous, faithful, practicing Catholics can accept the Lord as their Saviour and make the verbal commitment to follow Him with little difficulty; He already dwells in their hearts as a result of the sacraments.

a40d1-cassattmaryyoung-woman-picking-the-fruit-of-knowledge-1892 (1)
mary young casset-1891 unfinished

I am an oral story-teller so I often become caught up in my own tales and talk too much when I sense that someone is hungery for God.

However, if I relax and center myself in God, absorbing His peace and joy, it becomes easy to listen to someone with my heart and inner spirit. Also when my heart is open to God, it is automatically open to my companion. Even strangers know when I am  open because there is a tangible aura of peace much like the atmosphere in front of the tabernacle. In a sense when I am in unity with the Spirit of God, I am a tabernacle. St. Paul reminds us that we are simply clay pots.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Any comments, questions must be spoken in, with and through the Holy Spirit. Only God can stir up curiosity. Only God can inspire trust and openness. Only God Himself can save. We are simply His hands, feet and mouth on the earthly plane, a concrete touchstone. A better image might be that we are merely the donkey carrying our Lord and Saviour to the person he loves and longs to save. The best donkey’s listen and silently pray and let God work in a seeker’s heart as he talks and discovers that God is as near to him as his next breath if he allows the scales to fall from his eyes.

7 thoughts on “Break the Silence.

  1. “The donkey carrying the Lord” – perfect picture; one that I shall adopt.

    In times past, I’ve been so eager to talk about Jesus that I never let the other person get a word in edgewise. Lately, I’ve been focusing on letting them speak, (meanwhile praying), and talk very little. The conversation goes much further, I’m learning!



  2. Love that beautiful picture by Mary Cassatt.

    One of the ways I evangelize is to pray my rosary in public at my doctor’s office. Also, I held one when I was in the hospital recovering from hip surgery. I was really surprised how many people came up to me to say that they were Catholic but no longer attended Mass, or who spoke of now deceased family members who prayed the rosary.

    Another way I evangelize is simply by referring to God or Jesus and what He has done for me in casual conversation such as, “Oh well, it’s all God’s money anyway. He’ll give me what He wants me to have when I need it.” This often awakens something in the other person and gets him talking about Jesus. This is very natural for me. Today I think people need permission to talk about God because the secular world’s attitude is you are stupid if you believe in God.


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