Living Mystery

On the plane ride to New York the other day, I started reading Sherry A. Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus. Although I’ll write a fuller review when I’ve finished reading it (and doubtless a few more posts before that), I’ve read enough to feel comfortable claiming that it is an important book for anyone who cares about evangelization and Christian discipleship.

I just read a passage in the book that resonated deeply with a comment someone made to me the other day. I was having a conversation with someone who is not a religious person and who doesn’t generally associate with very many people who are. He is someone with a very pessimistic view of life and is not a very happy person. He commented after we had been talking for a couple of hours, “Everyone else I know who is a deep and philosophical thinker is unhappy and pessimistic. You are the only person I know who thinks deeply about things and yet is happy and hopeful. How can that be?” For me it is simple: I know that I can be the way I am only because of my relationship with God.

In her book, Weddell quotes from Emmanuel Cardinal Suhard’s Priests Among Men, in which he writes:

To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.

Weddell talks in her book about the different thresholds of conversion, one of which is curiosity. If we can be living mysteries, if by our lives we can spark curiosity in people, we can play effective roles in helping form “intentional disciples.”

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