We are coming to the end of the reading of St Paul’s letter to the Romans at Sunday Mass. It is Paul’s longest letter and has been a thread on for Sundays 9-24.
This Sunday’s reading (12:1–2) has a phrase that always stands out for me — Let your behaviour change — a phrase that is both a constant reminder and a challenge. It is a phrase that perhaps characterises the Catechumenate. But it doesn’t stop there the need to take responsibility for my behaviour in my responsibility; to view myself in the mirror that is Christ and let my behaviour change.
Paul identifies one of his paradoxes. To change our behaviour is to model ourselves on Christ yet it is through changing our behaviour that we get to know what God wants. It is my responsibility to change but God will be there.
The changes are not necessarily the stuff of headlines. It is the small changes that build up to make the big differences. In that way it has similarities to livesimply — we need to learn new ways if we wish to live simply, in solidarity and sustainably.
This is the very stuff of the catechumenate; the very stuff of discernment. The catechumenate is not just the assimilation of theology — yes, it is part of it — it is that this desire to know Christ and the Church makes a difference in people’s lives. For the team these are the signs to be looking for when discerning the time to move on to the next stage. Discernment is not an exam where the student produces evidence; it is the ongoing conversation. It is ‘once I did that, now I no longer can.
Do not model yourself on the behaviour of the world around you,
but let your behaviour change,
modelled by you new mind.
This is the only way to discover the will of God
and know what is good,
what it is that God wants,
what is the perfect thing to do.