Written by Bernadette
Tonight I finished week 2 of 7 of the Life in the Spirit Seminar at my parish. It's my fourth time attending (and I have worked a few more as a parish staff member). I often have conversations with Catholic friends on whether this Life in the Spirit stuff is "hocus pocus, razzle dazzle" and necessary to have a good faith life. The Life in the Spirit Seminar as a means of sharing the Gospel is not necessary for salvation but sharing the Gospel is. I wonder why people keep coming back time and time again. There is a woman in my group who is on her 9th seminar! During the seminar tonight, the speaker told us to turn to Jesus in distress, when in need. I have only heard that message twice in the Catholic Church, both times during healing services, only within the last 10 years and only once by a priest. It's sort the same reason why we read the Gospels over and over. Jesus is compelling.
The late Pope John Paul II made these statements in his 1979 Apostolic Exhortation, Catechesis Tradendae, which sums up why many of us are participating in this blog: initial proclamation of the Gospel has not taken place and as a result the attachment to Christ is not present.
Christocentricity in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one's own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that He communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that He
is. Catechesis Tradendae 6
All in all, it can be taken here that catechesis is an education of children, young people and adults in the faith, which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life. Accordingly, while not being formally identified with them, catechesis is built on a certain number of elements of the Church's pastoral mission that have a catechetical aspect, that prepare for catechesis, or that spring from it. These elements are: the initial proclamation of the Gospel or missionary preaching through the kerygma to arouse faith, apologetics or examination of the reasons for belief, experience of Christian living, celebration of the sacraments,
integration into the ecclesial community, and apostolic and missionary witness.
Catechesis Tradendae 18
The specific character of catechesis, as distinct from the initial conversion - bringing proclamation of the Gospel, has the twofold objective of maturing the initial faith and of educating the true disciple of Christ by means of a deeper and more systematic knowledge of the person and the message of our Lord Jesus Christ.(49) But in catechetical practice, this model order must allow for the fact that the initial evangelization has often not taken place. A certain number of children baptized in infancy come for catechesis in the parish without
receiving any other initiation into the faith and still without any explicit personal attachment to Jesus Christ; they only have the capacity to believe
placed within them by Baptism and the presence of the Holy Spirit; Catechesis
As I read the posts on this blog questioning whether it is authentically Catholic or not, I am reminded of the parable of the sower from Matthew 13. What so many of us so desparately desire is that no one ever leave the Catholic Church because they lack knowledge and understanding of the Person of Jesus Christ (Matt 13:19). It is my prayer that not another friend leave the Catholic Church because in times of trouble aren't rooted in Christ and as a result they don't know it's Jesus Christ who heals or forgives or sustains them in whatever way they need via the sacraments (Matt 13:21). Finally, it's my desire that cafeteria Catholicism go away because the Catholic is so completely in love with Jesus Christ that they can't imagine anything coming between them and their Lord (Matt 13:22, Romans 8:37-39).
I'm not a gardener, but I do know that I need to prepare the soil before planting. The Holy Father taught almost 30 years ago that there is a danger of operating "without any explicit personal attachment to Jesus Christ." As an "intentional gardener," working the fields of faith formation, I desire to sow in soil made rich by a personal relationship with Christ, so that "the one who hears the word and understands it," will be an intentional disciple of Jesus.