Week 8: #LawnChairCatechism : Knock, and it Shall be Opened to you

Welcome back for Week 8 of CatholicMom.com’s Lawn Chair Catechism: “The Third Threshold: Openness” As always, all of the discussion questions can be found here. No need to even read the book. If you haven’t, the study guide is descriptive enough that you can answer the questions thoughtfully. Feel free to post your comments on this blog and read other responses over at the main discussion here.

In your own faith: To believe in a personal God is to believe that God truly will meet us in prayer. It can be difficult to evangelize when we ourselves are going through a “dry spell”, or struggling with some spiritual question. Do you have difficulty trusting that God will show himself to those who do not yet possess the faith?

I have to say, this week it was a struggle to answer these questions because I have SO very much to say – and it’s all quite personal. But, I will do my best. Bear with me. there were some direct quotes that I think tie into this question that I would like to share and then maybe provide how it resonates with me.

But moving into that [openness] threshold is one of the most difficult journeys for twenty-first-century people to make because it demands that we declare ourselves open to the possibility of personal and spiritual change. (p. 156 Kindle Edition)

I think the difference for me, in making the change from non-Catholic to full-on-ready-for-it-all-Catholic was this openness that maybe I didn’t know everything. An openness that gave control to someone else and a trust that could be built on a no-matter-what-faith. Which leads me to…

As they do so, we need to stifle the impulse to say, “You just have to believe.” (p. 158 Kindle Edition) – and totally my emphasis, because I shout this from the rooftops (in my mind).

knock and enter
The Light of the World (1854) William Holman Hunt (Public Domain)

Oh how I say this all the time. I just know I can’t say it. It’s not what will get anyone to believe. Why would they take my word for it? You know, I read something the other day, “Be mindful, you may be the only Bible some people ever read”. I don’t know where that came from, but let’s think about that. If I am the only Bible some people will read, ever, I better be on my game for God. SO, we’re back to actions. Subtleties. You know. “Little flowering” it. This is how I feel I can romance people to Christ. If that terminology is offensive, I am sorry. I feel it’s a romance, a beautiful, flowery, mysterious, romance that requires the mindset of love at all times. I try to act out my “You just have to believe” and leave the rest to Him. Oh, I pray of course. Like a madwoman.

As a human heart opens to Jesus Christ, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain neutral. (p. 166 Kindle Edition)

And so here we are, at the end of this little quote-vignette-journey. Remaining neutral. Think about it. How hard is that? Neutrality, a constant state of inertia? We have to always move towards or away from something. It’s natural – breathing. If our breathing didn’t “breathe” we’d be dead. No? I leave you with this image and quote from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen a.k.a. the man, in my book. It all starts on the inside. Even a crack…and that’s where I can find hope and God, always. In the cracks.

“Holman Hunt was criticized for this painting. The critics said there was no latch on the outside of the door, which is right. It was conscience; the door is opened from the inside!” Your Life is Worth Living – Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.

See you next week.

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4 thoughts on “Week 8: #LawnChairCatechism : Knock, and it Shall be Opened to you

  1. I love that painting! I’ve never seen it before, but it makes me want to look closer. Thank you for including it with your reflection, along with the comment that the door can only be opened from one side. It is up to us to be open!

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    1. I am glad you liked it. If only we could all be open a crack! Thinking C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce (if you haven’t read you must!) imagine the filling God can do!! A whole world in one grain of sand. Equate that with faith….woohoo!

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  2. I always say we need to court people for Christ. When I teach my RE kids, before I go in, I tell myself you are courting them, you know, flowers and chocolates, lots of eye contact and smiles, lots of intent listening like what they say is the most important thing you hear. Not in a creepy way or at a smarmy level or anything, but just being enchanted and open and full of delight to be in their presence. You have to set your heart in that mode. If only were weren’t fallen sinners. We could be so good at this! LOL!

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    1. You know…I’ve always wanted to teach RE. I thought I’d like it. I think what you’re getting at is much what I do with my boys; engage them, make them want to learn more. You know, this afternoon I wanted to show my little Lexicon my scapular. I tried to tell him about the Carmelites. He said, oh yeah! The Little Flower, Teresa of Avila. I know, mom! Amazing what they absorb! Plant the seeds, Faith!

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