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Learning to be Disciples from Jesus' Questions

October 28, 2016

Jesus used questions throughout his ministry—not to find out something he didn’t know—but to probe into people’s deepest, most unsettled places.

Catholic author, speaker, and educator Allan F. Wright identified 25 of those questions and organized them into five spiritual stages that will lead you on the road to discipleship. Ave Maria Press asked him about how people can relate both to the questions and the people Jesus questioned.

Ave Maria Press: What is the most important thing you want people to come away with after reading 25 Life-Changing Questions from the Gospels?

Allan Wright: “I love the quote attributed to Dorothy Day, ‘I want to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’ It’s my hope that those who have been away from the Church or those who have never before seriously considered Jesus, spirituality, or the life of faith may come a step closer to a relationship with Jesus through reading this book and answering for themselves the questions of Jesus. For the committed believer, it’s my hope that the middle chapters will rattle them a bit and challenge them to go deeper in their faith.”

Ave: How will readers relate to those Jesus is questioning?

Wright: “These questions from Jesus are divine questions which I believe continue to resonate deep within each and every human being and call for a response. The reader can easily change places with the original audience to hear the question in the context Jesus posed it. However, the beauty and simplicity of how Jesus taught was very often straightforward. Even through the use of parables Jesus turns to us and asks us for a response. Jesus trusts that the questions he asks will stir something within us and He trusts that we can come to the proper conclusion."

Ave: Can you talk about the five stages of spiritual development that you outline in the book?

Wright: “In my work as a teacher and in evangelization, I have found that we encounter people who come to us from a myriad of starting points. Some people have never been exposed to anything religious through no fault of their own, others have had some exposure to the faith, Jesus and Christianity (for better or worse), and others are on the road of discipleship following Christ in the providence of their daily lives.

“Due to these various starting points and considering the 100-plus questions Jesus asks throughout the four Gospels, I wanted this book to be accessible and meaningful to the seeker and to the committed disciple. I wanted to lead people through a natural progression—from A to Z if you will—using a selection of the questions Jesus asks. So for each of the five sections I choose five questions that would ask the reader to consider, reflect upon or ponder. These initial stages of spiritual development that I concentrated on were: spiritual curiosity, spiritual openness leading to deciding for Christ, interior spiritual discipline, moral discipline and union with Christ’s body . . . the Church.”

Ave: How will these questions lead us on the road to discipleship?       

Wright: “Maps and GPSes provide direction to destinations. The Church certainly has answers but I’ve found that great questions assist people in discovering the answers for themselves. The roadmap to discipleship gently leads us to God one step at a time for it can’t be forced. Through consideration of these questions of Jesus and answering them from the heart, the reader will be welcomed, encouraged, and challenged on the road which Jesus asks us to follow.”

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