A short introduction to key ideas from Sherry Weddell's "Forming Intentional Disciples" in the context of discipleship in the Catholic faith. More resources available at: http://practicalevangelization.wordpress.com/tag/resources-for-intentional-discipleship/
Mvm’t from being followers of Jesus in an immediate, physical/earthly sense, to encountering the resurrected Jesus, to disciples discipling others, like St. Benedict’s vision for his monastery
Not possible to do unconsciously.Not ust for monks, priests, canonized saintsCan’t have the community w/o those individual decisions.
End up here. For example
Reiteration, really clear that faith is more than just a vague communal belief
and each one of us here can probably think of other examples—it’s clear from our Tradition that the way of a disciple includes a response in worship, in Eucharist…and yet only 18% of Catholics attend Mass weekly;
So without vilifying, condemning, blaming, or name-calling, we can look around and say whatever were doing isn’t suited for the current setting here in the United States. This is not about playing armchair quarterback on the past, or looking down from an elite position at any other person. It’s just this--our ways of making disciples are not actually making disciples. And since we’re supposed to make disciples, that’s a problem. The biggest problem. The root problem. The issue that underlies anything else we can look around and want to see more of—vocations, confession, social justice, engagement with culture, sacrificial giving, participation in the liturgy, faith filled marriages—anything.
Which one stood out to you and why?
Not all gloom and doom. Not us vs. them or a “Christ against culture” scenario.
Bottom line: we can read this book without debating language. Call it a committed disciple. I think what Weddell reveals is that “disciple”—a theologically powerful word—had lost its meaning.
resonates w/ the Tradition and our experience – CCC notes, saints in history, and probably the saints in our lives, the people who live as intentional disciples
Not required readingWhen I pause to think about this list and assess if it’s true based on my experience, the first thing that comes to mind are the intentional disciples I met here in the M.Div. program. And anecdotally, it seems to be true. I haven’t encountered anyone in the M.Div. program who is all for some of these fruits but not others…so I think discipleship produces a fullness of fruits. It’s not that problems go away. But I’m sure each of you can think of a small group, a ministry, or just a group of friends where almost everyone was an intentional disciple—and did these fruits manifest themselves?
Forming Intentional Disciples talks a lot about personal relationship with God. An individual’s consciousness. And, this is definitely rooted in the language of recent popes. But is it too much “me and Jesus” spirituality?
Foundational concept, lynchpin for understanding her message, most underrated passage in the obok…Dyad discussions on this. Going to look slightly different for just about every person. And it’s not just yes/no on a spiritual journey, there are stages, phases, different levels of enthusiasim, etc. The point is, there’s an incompleteness without all three in place, not a mature Christian w/o all three. And so FID as a book is really about Journey #1, since she believes this is the journey that we’re most silent about in our current setting, and is critically important in our society of seekers, “nones,” and the like. Spiral of Silence ad Don’t Ask Don’t Tell are another way of saying that journey #1 is the elephant in the room. Overlooked. Not talked about. Not resourced. Not even consciously considered by many. Sacramental theology in chapter 4 is in one sense an apologetic towards those who might think that emphasizing #1 has nothing to do with #2The 5 Thresholods are a practical framework for cultivating #1 in our society
Labels don’t work.
What is FID? Pause: What other labels might you add?
No book is going to answer every challenge we face. In her “solution” portion, Weddell offers up a detailed framework for addressing Spiritual Journey #1.
Not rigid, sometimes a different order, repeat phases, etc. But it’s a framework. I really remember my seeking threshold twice…
What other frameworks come to mind? Weddell’s stands out to me as the one that really digs into the beginning, evangelizing, or unafilliated phase. These build on that. Pay attention to where your different frameworks intersect.
And be concerned when they are absent. “The sacrament will take care of it” and the “church will provide” are incomplete theologically. And we all know this. Liturgical movement.Sacraments “work” with cooperation. Now this can put us in a very uncomfortable spot.
Can’t just let it go, unchecked. As you may have discussed in your dyads earlier this year, the absence of communal fruit is a real sadness. The fruits and charisms of the baptized aren’t just extras. These are the lifeblood of the Church. God pouring out his Spirit and blessings within us.
Remains in Amazon’s Top 5000 bestsellers and Top 20 of Catholicism books. Pop bloggers Lawnchair Catechism;National CEA Twitter discussionReception:Remaking the Church as evangelical Protestantism;Spiritual elite;Judging;My mom
Catholic Discipleship and "Forming Intentional Disciples"
an introduction to Sherry Weddell’s
Forming Intentional Disciples
Created Feb 2014
Feel free to re-use any slide, but please attribute.
Colleen Vermeulen, M.Div.
using the language of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
• Pray ( 2601, 2612)
• Abide in the Word ( 2466)
• Witness to Christ and work using
the gifts received from God, in
ecclesial and temporal affairs
( 1319, 2427)
• Imitate Jesus ( 2347, 2470)
• Profess, spread, and live the faith
of the Church ( 1816)
• Establish habits befitting a
disciple of Christ ( 1494)
• Are initiated and nourished by
the Eucharist ( 1275)
• Respond to Jesus’ invitation to
enter His kingdom ( 546)
discipleship as transmitted by the Church is:
• an active response
• for everyone
• personal (yet in community)
the Catholic faith
Catholics in our time
not to scale ;-)
majorityof Catholics in the United States
are sacramentalized but notevangelized
not know that an explicit, personal attachment to Christ—
personal discipleship—is normativeCatholicism as
taught by the apostles and reiterated time and time again by the
popes, councils, and saints of the Church.
-- Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 46
The proclamation of the Gospel kerygma leads a person to, one
day be “overwhelmed and brought to the
entrust himself to Jesus Christ by faith”
-- Blessed John Paul II, CatechesiTradendae, 25
Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or
a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a
person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive
-- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est 1
For me, faith is born from the encounter with Jesus. A
personal encounter, which has touched my heart
and given direction and new meaning to my existence.
-- Pope Francis, Letter to La Republica
were absolutely certain that the God they believed in was
a God with whom they could have a personal relationship
Forming Intentional Disciples, Chapter 1
assessing the state of discipleship
Image: “Paul Preaching to the Athenians,” Leonard Porter Studio, 2009
FID + ministry
formation = ?
God Has No Grandchildren
Image: Military Council of Catholic Women Fiat, “Book Club,” www.mccwfiat.wordpress.com
The spiritual winds blow
both ways in our postmodern world:
into andoutof the Church.
Our spiritual climate provides us with real opportunities
…and very definite threats
if we do not adjust our evangelizing, catechetical, and pastoral
practice to the unique challenges
of the times in which
-- Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 18
the origin of intentional discipleship
All we meant…was “intentional” as in Peter
and his brother, on the sea of Galilee, they
dropped their nets, and they followed him.
You don’t do that accidentally, you don’t do it in your sleep,
and neither can any of us be disciples in our sleep!
--Sherry Weddell, onlineinterview with Bishop Sheridan (Colorado Springs)
Image: CC license, flappingwings via Flickr
of course, “unintentional discipleship” is impossible,
but using explicit language like “intentional discipleship”
seemed to break the mysterious spell
that makes it difficult for many Catholics to think and speak of
discipleship in meaningful, real-life ways
-- Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 65
characterizing intentional discipleship
intentional discipleship is characterized by:
• a “drop the net” decision
• primary motivation from within, a “Holy Spiritgiven hunger and thirst for righteousness”
• worship and love of the Blessed Trinity with
one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and
strength, and love of neighbor as one’s self as
source and end of all things
Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 65-66
live God’s will
Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 80-81
intentional discipleship is ecclesial
three spiritual journeys
1. The personal interior journey of a
lived relationship with Christ
resultingin intentional discipleship.
2. The ecclesial journey into the Church
through reception of the sacraments
3. The journey of active practice –
receivingthe sacraments, attending
Mass, and participating in the life and
mission of the Christian community.
+ many more variations…
Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 54
As we listened to Catholics talk about their spiritual journey, we began to
realize that many
assumed there were two basic spiritual “tracks”:
“ordinary Catholic” and “saint.”
We discovered that many Catholics, including some pastoral leaders…have
no imaginative category for one who is an intentional follower
Jesus“on the way” yet not a saint.
There is a strong tendency to account for those who try to live as
disciples by labeling them “extraordinary,” either positively, as called to
priestly or religious life, or negatively, as pretenders to sanctity.
-- Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 63
“We must be convinced that all the baptized – unless they
die early or are incapable of making such a decision – will
eventually be called to make a personal choice to live as a
disciple of Jesus Christ in the midst of his Church”
--Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 70
Image: CNS, Catholic Review, Tom McCarthy Jr., 2012
expect charisms (spiritual gifts) and grace
You and I have no right to judge another’s internal disposition,
nor can we see justification happen in an individuals’ soul.
But this does
not mean that nofruits of personal faith are
observable from the outside.
And it certainly does
not mean that a dramatic and
widespread absence of these fruits in the community
overall cannot be recognized and addressed.
-- Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 122
The book has made a splash.
• in the Amazon Top 5000 nearly continuously since publication
• still breaking into the hourly Amazon Top 20 “Catholicism” best sellers
91dioceses in the U.S. are deliberately engaging with the ideas in
Forming Intentional Disciples:
Arlington • Baltimore • Boise • Boston • Charleston, SC • Chicago • Cleveland • Colorado
Springs • Denver •Detroit • Fargo • Fort Worth, TX •Fort Wayne – South Bend • Green Bay
•Dubuque, IA • Joliet, IL • Knoxville • La Crosse, WI • Lansing, MI •Lexington, KY • Los
Angeles • Madison, WI • Manchester, H • Milwaukee •New York • Newark • Oakland, CA •
Ogdensburgh, NY • Oklahoma City • Omaha • Orange, CA • Richmond • San Antonio • San
Francisco • San Jose, CA• Scranton, PA• Seattle • Springfield, IL
[+ dioceses in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and 4 other countries]
since 1997, over 65,000 lay, religious, and ordained Catholics have
participated in the Catherine of Siena Institute programs that inspired the book
Study the book.
Talk about it in your parish or ministry
if/how your parish or ministry deliberately
allows space for spiritual journey #1
ways to be sensitive to and discern the
many thresholds and complex conversion
processes of those who are not yet disciples
Check out additional resources at: