This summer, CatholicMom.com is hosting an on-line book discussion group for Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples. Each session will focus on one chapter of the book, and yours truly is participating. Hit the link above to see all of the participants, and to find the discussion questions.
In Chapter 3 of Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell describes a couple of parishes where the percentage of disciples is high, and how dramatically different they are from parishes where the percentage is more typical. She also explains one of the reasons why our parishes might not bear all of the fruit we might hope for: all too often the people running the programs aren’t themselves disciples, and so aren’t operating out of their Spirit-given charisms.
The Catherine of Siena Institute has for many years been conducting “Called & Gifted” workshops, in which they work with normal Catholics to help them begin to discern their charisms, the gifts the Holy Spirit has given to them, particularly to them, to help build up the Body of Christ. We will be most fruitful when we are doing the kind of things we’ve been given the charisms to do, and much less so otherwise. (Do not ask me to head up a hospitality-based ministry. Just don’t.) But charisms manifest in disciples, and so in order to take our parishes where they need to be, we need disciples who discern their charisms and use them.
This may sound more complicated than it is. Part of being a disciple is being will to submit—ooooh! it burns!—submit, I say, to Christ and his call. If we can begin to repent, and follow his lead, he will lead us where he needs us to be. No program can bring this about in my life; it takes me saying, “Lord, let it be done to me according to your will.” This is scary, but necessary. From it everything follows.
While re-reading this chapter, I experienced again the same feeling I had so many times while reading the book for the first time: I want this. I want to see this happen in my parish. I want to help make it happen. I dunno how to go about that; but look back at the previous paragraph. If I’m a disciple, Jesus will lead me into the things I need to do. I need to be a disciple, and to be ready. I admit to being curious as to what will happen.