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Monday, July 25, 2011

OK - I'm Certified...Now What?

I am a certified RCIA Catechist.  I know that because I am currently holding the certificate in my hand.  It is signed, it is really pretty, it states that I have completed all the course work to the satisfaction of those who judge my work.

So, it is true.

Now, what?

The last general session of the conference was chaired by Dr. Petroc Willey of the Maryvale Institute in England.  It is the institute that grew out of the tradition of study fostered by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.   Dr. Willey is considered one of the foremost authorities on the Catholic Catechism.  A convert from first the Baptist tradition and, later, Anglicanism, Dr. Willey is one of those Catholics who looks at the entire words in a sentence before deciding what the author meant, a form of analysis I am familiar with as that is how I was taught to think at UC Berkeley.

I wish I had kept to that form of thinking in my personal life when I was younger.  I would have saved myself a lot of grief (but that's all water around the Ark, as  Noah would say, so let's keep on keepin' on).

The 'and' in a sentence is important.  A Christian does not just have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ ( it is not just 'Jesus and me'); rather, if one looks at Holy Scripture and all of Salvation History, one realizes it is always about Jesus Christ and His Church.  Our Lord did not say to St Peter, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I shall eat my lunch with one person at a time".  He spoke of building a Church, creating something in much the same was as He created the world..a living, breathing, organic system of Love and Worship.  As personal as my relationship is with Jesus Christ, it would not be a complete relationship unless I include His Church - no matter what the behavior of the individuals within the Church might be (good or bad, solid or squishy).  My job, my vocation must include the development of my relationship with the Body of Christ - that is, The Church.

Dr. Willey proposed that every Catholic needs to acknowledge their responsibility to LEARN their Faith.  They approach the Catechism full of attitudes and ideas that could possibly prevent them from really learning. This is true of all of us - especially 'cradle' Catholics who think they know what the Catholic Church teaches.

So in order for us to learn, to continue to deepen our relationship with Christ, we have to be willing to empty ourselves of our preconditioned responses to The Teachings of The Church.  Learn....begin by opening the book lovingly given to us by the Magisterium and begin to read.  Read a sentence and ask yourself if you understand it....keep a dictionary close by...do not stop with one sentence or one paragraph...just allow yourself to soak in the message.

I am going to challenge all my Catholic friends and those non-Catholics who pretend to understand what we believe to read the Catechism.  Approach it as a spiritual reading...ask yourself after each section, "How does this manifest itself in my life today?".

I believe that, if we can do that, we can avoid becoming a follower of a specific priest or caught up in a schism because we know better than The Church.  A

And that is what we are supposed to do - stay united,stay together...stay The Body of Christ.

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