So there we have it!!
How is it that people have been brought into the Church?
In the very beginning of our journey in Catechism in a Year we talked about when the Church came into the world at Pentecost
Peter preached a sermon that convicted people to their hearts
People wanted to know what they could do to be saved
Peter said, “Repent and be Baptized every one of you.”
Thousands of people were Baptized that day
As the Church continued to spread it became very clear that there needed to be a more thorough process
The people who were Baptized right away were Jewish
They were prepared and had been shaped by the Old Testament and the Old Covenant
So their acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah was a short step
It made sense
As the Church continued to expand, there were people that heard the Gospel and came to faith in Jesus
Their minds were not shaped to the idea of One God
Their minds were not shaped to the reality that we are made in God’s image and likeness
Their minds were not shaped to the reality that male and female are created equal
All of these things involve a DRASTIC AND DRAMATIC CONVERSION
It’s not just a matter of what we do on Sunday mornings
We have to see the world through a BIBLICAL LENS
We have to see the world through the LENS OF JESUS
THAT IS A BIG CONVERSION!!
Paragraph 1229 says, “This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.”
These are distinct and essential aspects of Christian initiation
Paragraph 1231 says, “When infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth.”
Baptism happens right away in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches
Before the age of reason
In the ancient Church and now when there is an adult who has not been Baptized, there is a pre-baptismal catechumenate
For those of us who were Baptized as infants, there is a need for post-baptismal instruction
We have Sunday School and it usually happens after Baptism, at least in the West
There is not just the teaching of the data
But also the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth
We have to not only impart the faith but also elicit faith out of the people
So not just teaching
It is also through relationships, discipling
Teaching and discipling are also distinct even though they share some aspects
Teaching means that data is shared
Discipling is that but also sharing the very life
That’s what St. Paul said in Thessalonians, “We did not only share the Gospel of God with you. We also shared our very lives.”
There is something in that relational ministry that allows for the flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth
Paragraph 1232 says, “The second Vatican Council restored for the Latin Church ‘the catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps. The rites for these stages are to be found in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).”
What used to happen was if someone became a Catholic in adulthood, they met with a priest or a delegate who was authorized to teach
They would go one at a time
Which is good for having questions answered one on one
The Church realized that there is a RITE of Christian initiation for adults
If we are brought into the Family of God, then why don’t we journey as a FAMILY?
Not only is there a thorough explanation, teaching, and education in RCIA
We are also admitted into these rituals in a public way
There are times during Lent when there is inquiry and the people who are coming into the Church through Baptism are brought before the whole Church and the congregation sees that these are the new brothers and sisters
They are making these professions of faith
The Church is gathered around them to pray for them
There is something really good and communal and churchy about this
The Body of Christ surrounds these people as they are on their last stages of their journey as they come into the Catholic Church typically at Easter Vigil
Paragraph 1233 says, “Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.”
That’s what happens for adults
In the Eastern Rites, when they Baptize infants they also have Confirmation and the Eucharist right away
In the Latin Rite, infants are Baptized and will receive Reconciliation and then First Holy Communion and then be Confirmed
So what’s the best way to have these rites unfold in a person’s life?
What is the best way to initiate those who were Baptized as infants?
If we have been Baptized, what has our post-baptismal catechumenate looked like?
In what ways has God unpacked and given fruit to the graces that He gave to us since our Baptism?
Have we walked in faith?
Have we lived in hope?
Do we choose to love?
If we do these things, they are great signs of the Holy Spirit in our lives and that there is a flowering of Baptismal Grace in our lives
Does that make sense?
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!