What does it mean to be “an intentional disciple”?
What does it mean to be a disciple at all?
Are you one? How many do you know?
An excellent new book, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry A. Weddell, explains the term “intentional disciple,” as well as the steps to journey there, for both individuals and parishes.
With such a wide appeal and important content, Forming Intentional Disciples is one of those rare “for just about everyone” books, in my opinion. Whether you are a pastor, a DRE, a leader in a ministry in your parish or just an average parish member like me, you will find much food for thought and prayer here.
What’s so great about Forming Intentional Disciples?
Weddell is founder (with Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P.) of The Catherine of Siena Institute “to form lay Catholics for their mission in the world.” This book distills their work to help Catholics become more committed in their faith and communities.
As Weddell writes, “What we are called to do is to truly see and then make disciples of the anointed ones who are wandering in and out of our parishes right now.”
Forming Intentional Disciples outlines now as a time of challenge—-with only 30 percent of those raised Catholic who still practice their faith. But as this book makes abundantly clear, there is also great opportunity for growth in faith life and discipleship among everyday Catholics.
In every chapter, there are great insights, stories and statistics that help readers to understand the problem–and to be part of the solution. On more than one occasion while reading this book, I got chills, thinking of ways to become more of a disciple myself and encourage those around me to do the same.
As Weddell points out, what’s at stake in fostering discipleship is nothing less than
“*the eternal happiness in God (salvation) of every human being.
*the complete fruition of the Mass and the sacraments,
*the next generation of Catholic leaders, saints and apostles: priestly, religious and secular, (and)
*the fulfillment of the Church’s mission on earth.”
How does Weddell propose we do that? Here are just a few of the many ideas in Forming Intentional Disciples:
*By a careful understanding of and respect for the five thresholds at which a person’s faith can grow or shrink, and how we can help ourselves and others cross those thresholds.
*By imitating Jesus in that we ask more questions than giving answers, to foster a deeper understanding and integration of faith into each person’s life.
*By recognizing and harnessing the importance and power of intercessory prayer to help others in their journey toward faith, especially at time of spiritual warfare.
*by creating space and community for committed parish members to grow spiritually once discipleship is awakened.
This may seem bold, but if you are reading this review, I urge you to read Forming Intentional Disciples. If you are committed enough Catholic to read The Catholic Post and be inspired by the Holy Spirit to read this blog post, I believe this book is meant for you to read and ponder.