The difficulties experienced by people all over the world at all times throughout the ages are undeniable. Sometimes these are moments of great catastrophe. Sometimes these are moments of personal crisis. Either way, the pain is real. In suffering we participate in the suffering of Christ and all of our brothers and sisters across the span of space and time.
Christianity is not a religion of happiness... Happiness can certainly be a large part of our journey here on Earth, but it is not the end game. The end game is communion with God. While that will certainly be paradise, until then the best we can do is find peace in the knowledge of Christ's salvific mission, and our call to participation in His life. We do this by living as He lived, and loving as He loved. It will not be easy, and it most certainly will not be without its trials and tribulations; after all, the only perfect man to walk that path was tortured and crucified (and not before being denied and betrayed by His greatest friends and confidants).
The point is this:
- We cannot have salvation without the fall.
- We cannot have the rainbow without the flood.
- We cannot enter the promised land without our time in the desert.
- We cannot have Easter Sunday without first having Good Friday.
- We cannot have New Life with out dying.
Catechesis must exhibit the dual nature of Christ. It must be both divine and temporal. If catechesis is solely concerned with divinity to the point where humanity is excluded the message is corrupt. If catechesis sacrifices divinity in the name of accessibility the message is corrupt. We must expect catechists to convey the message in its totality in a way that is pertinent to the audience. This can be done. We must expect more from catechists, catechumens, the domestic church, parents, clergy, and those being catechized. The expectations, and the difficulty that accompanies them, need not be a burden. In tempering high standards with equal faith, love, and mercy, those commissioned with teaching and learning respond with fervor. If we do not believe that catechesis can be transformative then neither will those being catechized. Belief in the salvific truth of the message is key. The passion that accompanies this certainty is contagious and will serve to stoke the fire of faith.
“Catechesis is a pillar for education in faith. … Even though at times it may be difficult, it is necessary to work hard and make efforts for which you don't always see the results you hoped for, educating in faith is good! It is perhaps the best legacy we can give: faith! … Catechesis is a vocation: 'being' a catechist, this is the vocation, not 'working' as a catechist. Be careful: I have not said to do the work of a catechist, but rather to be one, because it involves all your life. It means guiding towards the encounter with Jesus with words and with life, with your witness … I like to recall the words of St. Francis of Assisi to his friars: 'Always preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words', so that people may see the Gospel in your lives… we must begin with Christ and this love He gives us”.
Vatican City, 28 September 2013 (VIS)