Friday, October 23, 2009

What is Catechesis?

Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the demands of the way of Christ. Catechesis for the "newness of life"(We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.Romans 6:4) in him should be:

  • a catechesis of the Holy Spirit, the interior Master of life according to Christ, a gentle guest and friend who inspires, guides, corrects, and strengthens this life;

  • a catechesis of grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life;

  • a catechesis of the beatitudes, for the way of Christ is summed up in the beatitudes, the only path that leads to the eternal beatitude for which the human heart longs;

  • a catechesis of sin and forgiveness, for unless man acknowledges that he is a sinner he cannot know the truth about himself, which is a condition for acting justly; and without the offer of forgiveness he would not be able to bear this truth;

  • a catechesis of the human virtues which causes one to grasp the beauty and attraction of right dispositions towards goodness;

  • a catechesis of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, generously inspired by the example of the saints;

  • a catechesis of the twofold commandment of charity set forth in the Decalogue;

  • an ecclesial catechesis, for it is through the manifold exchanges of "spiritual goods" in the "communion of saints" that Christian life can grow, develop, and be communicated.
The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is "the way, and the truth, and the life." It is by looking to him in faith that Christ's faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity:

I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to him, as members belong to their head. And so he longs for you to use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father.
For to me, to live is Christ. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1697,1698

Is this the catechesis going on in our churches today?

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