Under the subheading, “Heading Into “The Zone”,” Weddell writes,
We have found it useful to think of the two thresholds of seeking and intentional discipleship as a whole, as well as considering them as two separate stages. What both thresholds have in common is that they are active rather than essentially passive like the earlier thresholds of trust, curiosity, and openness. That’s why we sometimes talk of seeking and intentional discipleship together as “The Zone.”
“The Zone” is the place of active wrestling with and serious contemplation of the following of Christ. When an individual crosses the line into active seeking, things really start to change. When large numbers of parishioners are actively seeking or are disciples, the spiritual atmosphere in the parish heats up dramatically.
Ah, yes, this is what I’m looking for as a parishioner, as a parish employee, as someone who wants to attend that kind of parish! But how? No answers yet, but plenty more to chew on.
As we move through the thresholds, our knowledge of Jesus and our openness to him should be steadily increasing. Catholics on the way to discipleship can and should be exposed to the Great Story of Jesus (the kerygma) from the threshold of curiosity on. They will need to understand the whole by the time they make a decision whether or not to “drop their nets.”
You can’t commit well to someone you don’t know. So even though we may give our time and our money and our very selves, without a relationship with Jesus the person, we’re missing most of the picture.
It is both challenging and intimidating to realize that, as evangelizers, we need to model what it means to seek after Christ and share how that is going — both the ups and downs. [Emphasis mine.]
It is far more important that your relationship with Jesus exists and is real than that it conform to some imaginary template of Catholic perfection.
We have to keep it real. There’s encouragement and hope in being honest, even when it’s embarrassing. The witness we give isn’t in the big, holy rolling, but in the small, stumbling back to God. What wins hearts isn’t me. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
So how do I approach leaders who aren’t disciples?
First, I’d suggest with a spirit of humility, with love, and with lots of careful consideration. Maybe we don’t even have to approach them. Maybe knowing it, seeing it, being able to pray about it is the start I need to make.
How in the world do I mentor people when I’m already so busy?
Dare I suggest that I might already be doing that? The people I’m an example to might live in my house, be people who are close friends, be those I work with on a regular basis. They might be casual acquaintances who look to me without my awareness of that attention.
I come back to that prayer I pray so often: Lord, let me be your instrument. Give me the grace to stay outta your way when you’re doing good work.
Join the discussion over at CatholicMom.com! There’s a summary (you don’t have to read the book to participate!) and some great questions to get you started.