Monday, September 30, 2013

RCIA

I am excited for tomorrow evening: it will be my first night helping to facilitate the RCIA (Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults) at Saint Cecilia Parish. I have been an RCIA sponsor in the past but this will be the first time I have the privilege of walking with a large group of interested adults as they explore and deepen their nascent Catholic faith. 

Next Sunday's Gospel Reading expresses well what animates this entire journey: Lord, "Increase our faith." The men and women who will gather tomorrow night feel this very request burning in their hearts. Something, someone, has touched their hearts and offered them an invitation to deepen their faith. Somehow they have found within themselves to say, "Yes!" and will begin this journey as a group tomorrow. 

While I can't say that I've spent many sleepless nights planning how the next few months might unfold, I will admit that there have been a few. Should I ask them to read something? Should I find a textbook? The old high-school teacher of me loves having materials, guides, and homework. Yet my heart tells me this might not be the way to go. 

Jesus didn't hand curriculum guides and handouts to his followers. 

Instead:
He called them to follow. 
He taught them to pray. 
He showed them how to live and to love. 
He showed the consequence of love in a sinful world: the Cross. 

I guess my plan, if there is a plan, is little more than this: to begin with each one of the adults on her or his journey, to invite the story of (1) Who is God? and (2) How have you come to know God? I feel precious little pressure to fill them with content, with giving them answers that they can regurgitate at will. That will come, of course, and it must: there is a content of faith. 

Nevertheless, I cannot escape the conviction that if this is to be a meaningful experience for these pilgrims, they deserve to begin where the first disciples began: by reflecting on their feeling of being called. Jesus never compelled or imposed; he invited and proposed. His freedom to call spoke to the freedom of those called to respond. The path that their "Yes" set them upon guided their feet and has shaped the course of history for 2,000 years. 

Please pray for our Catechumens both at St. Cecilia and throughout the worldwide Church. While it is hardly ever easy or without tension to be a Catholic, I cannot help but to think that this is an exciting time to reacquaint ourselves with our shared faith. Pray that each of these women and men may come to know the Lord more deeply...and, as your pray for them, know that I'm praying that your prayer reaps the same reward. 



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