This week, our Lawn Chair Catechism is covering “The Fruit of Discipleship,” which is Chapter 3 of Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples, the basis for our study.

**Quick note: OSV has extended their $10+free shipping offer and it’s really not too late to join us… (You don’t even have to read the book! Criminelly! What more do you want in a summer study?)

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There’s nothing fruity about this chapter (though there’s plenty of melon in my house). From the top:

God is not asking us to call forth the gifts and vocations of a few people; he is asking us to call forth the gifts and vocations of millions. Our problem is not that there is a shortage of vocations but that we do not have the support systems and leadership in place to foster the vast majority of the vocations that God has given us. Most fundamentally, when we fail to call our own to discipleship, we are unwittingly pushing away the vast majority of the vocations God has given us.

Although we hardly ever talk about it, the whole Church bears responsibility for the charisms and personal vocations of each member […]

Personal responsibility. It’s a lovely thing.

And…and…it’s terrifying.

We are invited to say Yes. Ultimately, though, the decision rests with us.

That pesky free will thing again.

But what if you don’t know what to do, where to begin, the questions to ask? This might just be the chapter for you.

I walked away from it with a curiosity (that I’m too busy right now to pursue) about charisms and the knowledge that I have, in fact, given a copy of this book to everyone on our parish staff.

The question of discipleship, for me, is similar to the requests I get to share my conversion story. I struggle because my conversion has never been about one moment; it’s been about a journey. I think discipleship (at least for me) is the same sort of thing. I’m better at it now than I was 12 years ago, or even three years ago. I expect I’ll have insight, wisdom, and experience in the future that I don’t have now, and that will make me a different (hopefully better) disciple.

I think it’s important to pursue the theory with the understanding that the practice may lag behind. In my nearly ten years of parish work (as an employee), I’ve seen our small parish grow and change and grow some more. Sometimes the growth doesn’t seem to be good, and sometimes the new challenges are trumped by a longing for the “good old days.”

This discipleship mentality fits with what I sense to be true about what I’ve always loved about Catholicism. There’s a feeling to it that I don’t like (NT much?) but that I can still recognize as worth striving for.

Jesus has his hand out to me. He’s asking me to follow him. Can I say Yes?

I may not understand where we’re going and I might not recognize the path. He’s right there beside me. Will I say Yes?

It’s rough and scary and uncomfortable. It’s unpopular and exhausting and difficult. Will I say Yes?

The benefits, as Father reminds us often, are out of this world.