Yesterday’s “Holy Audacity” post finished with the following sentence:
And aided by His grace, holy audacity allows us to become intentional disciples of Christ.
What is an intentional disciple? Let’s allow Simon Peter, one of the first intentional disciples, to frame the definition.
The following passage comes from a book I’m currently reading, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell, co-director of the Catherine of Siena Institute.
“Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.’ And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:10-11).
Simon Peter’s “drop the net” decision is what we mean by “intentional.” From the moment he dropped his nets to follow Jesus, he was a disciple.
Peter did not, of course, know what the full ramifications of that decision would be for himself or for the world. No disciple ever does. And it would take the rest of his life to become a saint. But he had consciously begun the journey.
It is the same with us. Intentional discipleship is not accidental or merely cultural. It is not just a matter of “following the rules.” A disciple’s primary motivation comes from within, out of a Holy Spirit-given “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” All things serve and flow from the central thing: the worship and love of the Blessed Trinity with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and therefore the love of one’s neighbor as oneself.
Forming Intentional Disciples comes highly recommended by priests and religious educators alike. Jonathan F. Sullivan, director of catechetical services for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois writes the following (emphasis mine):
Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell is the most important book I’ve read this year. That is not exaggeration or hyperbole, but a testament to the research, experience, and insight Weddell brings to the question of evangelization and catechesis in the Church today. Weddell’s book is a synthesis of every deep conversation about catechesis and evangelization I’ve had with my local and national colleagues for the past four years.
… [It] is a book that has appeared at preciously the moment it is needed in the life of the Church … and I believe every bishop, pastor, evangelist, and catechetical leader should have a copy and study it carefully. (Read Jonathan’s full review here.)
One of my favorite go-to podcasting priests Fr. John Riccardo has even mandated that all members of his parish council and pastoral staff read the book together. He’s even encouraging every parishioner to join along, calling the book a “game changer.” He feels so strongly in the book’s message that he uses it as the foundation for his four-part 2013 parish mission talk recently presented to his parish. You can access those parish mission talks through Fr. Riccardo’s iTunes channel.
I’m currently reading this book and soaking in its powerful message. I’m eager to share a full review and more nuggets in the days, weeks, and months to come. For now, let me pose a question.
How do we truly come to know Jesus Christ and follow him as an intentional disciple?
If you are curious to explore that question, I have a hunch Forming Intentional Disciples will speak to you like it’s speaking to me, and like it spoke to Fr. Riccardo and to Jonathan Sullivan. Learn more about the book here.