This is the first week of Catholicmom.com’s Lawn Chair Catechism book study. You do not have to purchase the book to participate; they have a wonderful 13 page printable guide to study along with. Anyway, the first week gets into the introduction of the book where the author, Sherry Wedell, finds that most people that she interviewed in ministry positions in the parishes that she visited for her studies were not as spiritually developed as one would expect. Truthfully, this came as no surprise to me.
When I became a Catholic in 2006, I first attended Mass and was involved in a parish Bible study before attending RCIA classes. In a congregation of over 250 families, there were 3 people in the Bible study. I was amazed that all along I thought that Christian church-goers, especially Catholics were active in their spiritual walks, with all of the wonderful prayers and daily Mass available, I just couldn’t fathom that they were not uber spiritual and that I, the newbie in the field, was showing more motivation than most of them who were steeped in this beautiful tradition their whole lives!
How would I describe my lived relationship with God at this point in my life? Ooh, I must admit it is not what it was or what I want it to be. When I first became a Catholic, my children were small and stayed home on most Sundays so I was rushing to get to Mass and listen to the Word and bask in the peace. Now I have two boys who receive the Eucharist and one preparing to receive next year so I must take them with me to instill spiritual formation in them. I am the only church-going and Catholic parent of two ADHD boys, one with Autistic-like symptoms and an older son who tries to help but sometimes causes more harm than good. This makes for less peace during Mass and more time spent just getting through it. I would love to get to a point that I could have peace again. Also, our women’s ministry has broken up and I just don’t have the energy to be the one to re-start it.
What does the word “discipleship” mean to me? The official definition of disciple is “somebody who believes in and follows the teachings of a leader, a philosophy, or a religion”. In practical terms, I think this means following the teachings of the Church- Bible, Tradition, and Magesterium- in a way that enriches our own lives, spilling over into the lives of those we touch.
Do I perceive a need in the Church today to help lay Catholics become more fervent followers of Jesus Christ? I’m not sure what I think. There seems to be plenty within the Church for us lay followers to do, but many choose not to do it. Why is it that we cannot get kids to come to Religious Ed classes but their parents take great pains to make sure that they get to Scouts and sports and extra-curricular activities? I just don’t know if this is something that the “Big-C Church” needs to do or the “Little-c church” needs to do. I think the Church has offered so much to us that we just don’t take the initiative to get out and participate in.
How would I describe my parish’s current efforts at discipleship? A hotbed of discipleship? A weekly gathering of spiritual sleep-walkers? Or perhaps something in between? I would say that my parish in particular is a weekly gathering of spiritual sleep-walkers with a few great, energetic disciples who are fed up with trying to get others to come out and participate and seeing the same faces every time. We want a church with an active congregation. We are amid over 200 Protestant churches in our tiny town and we want to knock their socks off. We want the Catholics to come and enjoy their relationship with Jesus Christ and to see the beauty of the Fullness of the Faith but they are busy sleep-walking and not seeing the light-show that is happening in front of their faces. We disciples are tired and fed-up…