A new day and a new year, but it is the same old things that we witness, though perhaps in new ways.
Climbing a tree, it made purposefully for the bird food, which was suspended invitingly (for birds, that is) at the end of a branch. Though tied to little more than a thin twig, the squirrel carefully manoeuvred a route until it could with some dexterity and balance eat its fill.
That squirrel didn’t need to make such a hazardous journey, yet something drove it to take the path that it did. As we approach the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, we too can reflect with our catechumens upon the journey of the wise men as they try to find the new born King of the Jews.
- There is a chance to look at the symbolism of the star, and the sign it offers, the sign of the birth of the messiah.
- A chance to look again at the signs and symbols of Christmas: gather around the crib, visit the church and see what is different about the furnishings and the decoration in this season.
- Look at the Collect: the Opening prayer for Sunday that speaks of ‘we, who know you already by faith…’ and explore what that faith means at this time.
The above can apply for any stage of the RCIA, for the depth that is explored will be discerned by the catechists in accordance with the stages of the individuals [RCIA 5] and for children of catechetical age [RCIA242-3].
Formation is ongoing and those in their anniversary year of mystagogy [RCIA 240] will bring a different perspective and experience to their reflection from the previous year.
As an RCIA team a new year is a good time to explore one’s own journey. What new resolutions can be considered or made? Raising new ideas can be the first stepping stone to reinvigorating the RCIA process. It doesn’t hurt to consider, to discuss and to reflect and to take time to make decisions. The Magi consulted and discussed and reflected and were committed to achieving their object. As catechists perhaps this is a good time to evaluate our resources. What resources do we use, or could add to?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults study edition is an essential ( if you can’t get hold of the English edition, then the USA is cheap and available, but be aware the section numbers are different).
As well as the Catechism and the General directory for catechesis there are some excellent books and journals.
Catechumenate: A Journal of Christian Initiation is published by Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago. Published bimonthly, you can order it online. There are articles on the different periods of the rite as well as a commentary/reflections on the Sunday scriptures.
Google Paul Turner (USA) and his books. Celebrating Initiation: A Guide for Priests, is a must for your clergy, while When Other Christians Become Catholic makes for a challenging discussion with the whole RCIA team.