At an excellent workshop I recently attended given by RCIA Network’s Caroline Dollard I was reminded that four of the main ways we learn are from community life, Scripture, liturgy and service. These four dynamics of the RCIA are with us all the way home- during this life on the way to the next- for we are all constantly learning from each of these ways of encountering the Risen Lord in the day to day of our everyday lives.
I once lived in a community where one member said, half in jest, “I could be a saint if I lived on my own!” The truth is that community life reveals us to ourselves. For me the experience of community, family and parish life has shown me that I am not as patient and loving as I thought I was. Community introduces us to reality, if we are open to it, and it’s in that context that we prepare for and receive the sacraments. So what are you learning from your experience of community at the moment? I am continuing to appreciate my need for God’s mercy. Thankfully Christ and the Christian community are not for the healthy but the sick as Jesus puts it in the Gospel so there is a place for everyone.
My reflection on Scripture continues to teach me that I am beloved. “You are my beloved… on you my favour rests” these words of God the Father spoken to Jesus at his baptism were shared again with me recently. In the light of my experience of community this is good news. Loved in my brokenness and poverty. Loved unconditionally. What is Scripture teaching you at the moment? If we allow God’s truth to permeate all we are and do others will hear and see the Word in their midst. Each of us is beloved, yes the enquirers but the catechists, bishops, sisters, priests and deacons too, all of us called and chosen, precious children of God.
At a recent catechists training course we spent some time together reflecting on our encounters with the living Christ in the liturgy. There was some great sharing. A recent celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation was a healing encounter with Christ for me, one which I shared. As we witness to each other about the power of the Lord at work through the sacraments we can grow together in our expectant faith. How have you become aware of encountering the Risen, living Lord in liturgy recently?
We also learn from service, from our experiences of mission. At an event recently someone questioned me about the word ‘sin’. We had a conversation about it together and sought to reconcile the reality and revelation of a broken world with a pastoral approach to people. Our conversation made me think again of the liturgy, Scripture and community and to see them with new eyes. In the liturgy we do not shy away from praying ‘Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world, have mercy…” The Scriptures and our own experiences testify to the truth our communal lostness when we are left to our own devices. The session was on Christ’s redeeming work and the Good News of our redemption- the gift of salvation and so it was safe to be honest about the problem of sin because the solution, in the Saviour Christ Jesus, was being presented. The Good News is something we can be confident to go out and share. Through our service we witness to Christ, the one who came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. What are you learning from your service to others? Are we giving our lives for others and allowing Christ to shine through us? Are we confident to go out and confidently share the Good News?
As we continue our journey home, through this life, let’s continually be aware of these four ways to learn and grow, and witness to the joy of a learning, growing faith to those we accompany and apprentice in the Christian life.