Welcome to the 5th session of Lawn Chair Catechism, using Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, by Sherry Weddell (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).

A few notes:

  • You'll be able to leave comments and/or leave your link at the end.
  • You do not have to read the book to participate. Check out our discussion guide. There's plenty to get started with if that's all you use (one page a week).
  • And don't forget: Our Sunday visitor has extended their $10 and free shipping offer until July 31.

This week, we'll be covering Chapter 4: Grace and the Great Quest.



Will “the sacrament take care of it?” How much does it matter whether a candidate for the sacraments desires to know Jesus Christ, and has a basic understanding of what that relationship entails?

A belief in the efficacy of the sacraments – that supernatural grace is indeed imparted – mustn’t devolve into superstition.  Sherry Weddell summarizes Church teaching on the question of mature faith:

 . . . the council’s Decree on Justification describe in great detail the sort of spiritual development that needs to be in place in order for an adult to receive baptism fruitfully.  It includes the following:

  • Being moved to faith by hearing the basic proclamation of Jesus Christ and his work of salvation.
  • Moving intentionally toward God.
  • Believing in what God has revealed – especially that God saves sinners through redemption in Jesus Christ.
  • Recognizing that one is a sinner.
  • Trusting in the mercy of God.
  • Beginning to hope in and love God.
  • Repenting of personal sin.
  • Resolving to be baptized, to begin a new life, and to walk in the obedience of faith.

There is one obvious descriptor for someone who has lived all the above: disciple.

She clarifies that a concern for the inward beliefs of those in the pews is no excuse for an inquisition.  Jesus is quite emphatic in insisting we do not know what is going on in our neighbor’s heart.  But she insists:

But this does not meant that no fruits 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.  Nor does it mean that we shouldn’t talk about these realities and structure our pastoral priorities and practices around doing everything we can to foster positive disposition and the fruit that flows from it.

For discussion:

In your own faith:

  • It can be hard to settle our minds on the idea of “cooperating with grace”.  How would you explain the Catholic doctrine on salvation to others?

In your parish:

  • How does your parish currently respond when there are serious doubts about the readiness of a candidate for the sacraments?
  • How would a discipleship model of preparation fit into your current approach?

Join the discussion!

We'll be "talking" in the combox, too, so please leave your thoughts there as well!

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