Even though I’m getting a late start, I wanted to share my personal answers to the discussion questions. There are other personal answers and additional discussion over at the CatholicMom page. Go visit!
When considering this question, I thought back to my relationship with God during various stages of my life. In my childhood, God was a benevolent father and I learned about his Love for me. The experience of Mass combined with CCE, though seen as an obligation, created a solid foundation for my teen years and shaped my traditionalist “good girl” attitude that led me not to question authority.
When dating and considering marriage, not being involved in a strong church community made it all too easy to succumb to the “if it feels good” worldly view, although tradition still grounded me to marry in the church. My personal relationship with God could best be described as a distant relative. I continued attending Mass because I found comfort in the ritual and tradition. I believed and had faith the BIG PICTURE without being part of a parish community. However, I loved our parish priest. His pre-wedding counsel re-introduced the solemnity of the Sacrament, while his short, on point, relevant homilies drew me more thoughtfully into the Mass.
Having children required that I be able to explain what I believe, teach the traditions, and pass on the comforts of my faith. To do that required that I know my faith. I enrolled my daughter in little church, CCE, Catholic school. I learned alongside her, reading her CCE books. I began to seek the knowledge, history, truth, and teachings of the Church in order to answer her questions.
What does the word “discipleship” mean to you?
As a disciple I’m on a journey toward Him. And I have a long way to go.
Each Parish is faced with the challenge to build a community of disciples. To meet this challenge they need to appeal broadly at every stage of the individual’s journey to Christ. Thru homily, group study, prayer, religious education, and spiritual direction, the parish should be inclusive and welcoming. But ultimately the individual must hear God’s call and start their journey with the destination of becoming in communion with Christ as their goal.