Saturday, November 19, 2016
We must be prayerful and we can look to the example of the early Church. "They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles 1.[Creed] and to the communal life 2.[Morality], to the breaking of the bread 3.[Sacraments] and to the prayers 4.[Prayer]" (Acts 2:42). These four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are based on the life of the early Church. We can see these aspects of a holy life pre-figured in the Old Testament: the Shema, the preeminent belief of the Hebrew people that God is one (Dt 6:42); the Ten Commandments; the Passover; and the Psalms. These four pillars of the Catholic faith are not to be assimilated consecutively: they must be encompassed simultaneously. Our Christian lives must be integrated. Our prayer lives cannot be properly formed unless we infuse into them what we believe, how we worship, and how we behave. And how does our lived experience of all four pillars take root in our lives? Love! The Catechism says that all doctrine is directed to the love that never ends (CCC, no. 25). Pope Francis, in the address above, continued, ”To 'be' a catechist requires love, an ever stronger love for Christ, a love for his holy people . . . This love comes from Christ! It is Christ's gift! And if it comes from Christ, it also starts with Christ, and we too need to start anew with Christ, from the love he gives us". He gave three ways that we, as catechists, can start anew. The first is to remain close to Christ, abiding in him, forever. The second is to leave ourselves behind and go out to others. And the third is going with Christ to the outskirts. These are integral to Francis' pontificate, but also echo the Doxology of the Mass, "Through him, with him, and in him." Of the ways to start anew, the hardest one for most of us is to leave ourselves behind. Therefore, we must always seek conversion. Our self-love can rob us of generosity; it can make our catechetical endeavors self-centered rather than Christ-centered. We can build our own kingdoms rather than building up the kingdom of God.