I had a few especially inspiring hours today at a seminar for people of the diocese representing parishes and chaplaincies of the diocese.

Sherry Weddell travels the world encouraging people to grow to full Christian maturity. Her research reveals that most Catholics, while having a basic trust in God and a spiritual curiosity, have little awareness that the more wonderful and life-giving adventure of the journey of faith is found through deeper openness seeking full discipleship.

From her experience Sherry suggests that 1% of Catholics are living an intentional and active discipleship while most remain at initial stages of faith.

In conversations with those present at today’s session I estimate that in the group gathered today the percentage is higher, but probably not as high as 50%, and the percentage will be no higher among priests.

Sherry’s research shows that many Catholics settle for active connection with the church without appreciating that the church exists to encourage people into relationship with Jesus who is God-with-us.

I first realised this some years ago when I struggled with the imperfection that is so evident in many of the structures, communications and people of the institutional church. I was fortunate at that time to be challenged by those I still consider to have a great spiritual maturity. They began to ask me more persistently about my personal relationship with Jesus. As a Catholic I was able to talk easily about the church, and even about God, but a personal relationship with Jesus seemed to be an unnecessary extra reserved to cloistered nuns and monks and certainly not possible for a diocesan priest!

Now I know that I would not have made it happily to where I am today without this growing relationship with Jesus who gives me stability, purpose and identity in the ups and downs of daily life.

It is also true that without the community of faith that is the Catholic Church I would have given up years ago.

To hear Sherry Weddell giving a similar presentation at St Mary of the Lake University, Mundelein listen (perhaps as a podcast on a car trip since these lectures are 50 minutes each)  for part one at this link and part two here.

4 Responses to "maturation"
  1. I too was there yesterday John when Sherry asked “where would you find Jesus today”. Like many I thought well obviously in my heart when she clearly explained the manifestation of Christ is always in the Eucharist! Hallelujah! There is our one point of difference, our true connection with God as his church, if we aren’t convinced and convicted on this one point alone then all else is noise and busyness. What a joy it was to be there. Onwards we go proclaiming the good news!

    • Thanks Wayne I liked your comment. I feel blessed to be Catholic, as we have such a tangible, real Jesus in the Eucharist and I often feel that non-Catholics, are missing out. This is the beginnings of me wanting to share that with others.
      I went to the evening session of Sherry Weddell which was about discernment of charisms. This was very interesting. God works though us in different ways, gifting us with charisms. I’m still trying to work out where I fit in God’s plan, to make a difference to others in my Parish.

  2. A wise reflection on faith journey. Our relationship with Jesus does not stop with our understanding of atonement theology, Jesus is a personal, loving presence working with us as our Way, our Truth and our Life. In an intimate relationship with Jesus we discover that the Word was made Flesh so that flesh could be made into the Word.It is a love affair that ges beyond human language.

  3. Just watched Sherry’s lecture part one. Inspiring. At the end she quotes CS Lewis in “The weight of glory, 18” concerning Intentional Discipleship…
    ‘The weight of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.’ I think this is what is meant to walk with Christ and allow Christ to live in me. Her talks are well worth soaking in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.