Discipleship, as we all know, is a vocation to which one can never respond in a final and definitive way. It is a call to ongoing conversion, to an ever deeper appreciation of the mystery of Christ. To be a disciple is to incarnate the identity and mission of Jesus in our own personal, historical, and cultural context. For us, then, discipleship means living ever more deeply and effectively the mystery of Christ in the American Church of the late twentieth century.
There is a characteristic of our recent American Catholic experience that is at once glaringly evident and profoundly confusing, particularly because it is so discontinuous with the experience which formed most of us as American Catholic children . I am speaking of the deep ambivalence toward the authoritative institutions of both our country and our Church that many of us contend with on a daily basis. Nothing was more integral, even central, to the formation of young Catholics in the American parochial school system of the 1940's and 1950's than the positive evaluation of lawfully constituted institutions summed up in the oft-cited, though decontextualized quotation from Romans: "All authority comes from God."
New Wineskins: Re-Imagining Religious Life Today
Schneiders, Sandra Marie "Prophetic Consciousness: Obedience and Dissent in the Religious Life" in New Wineskins: Re-Imagining Religious Life Today. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1986.