We have been building up to the network conference for a number of months now.  July seems to be a season for renewal in many ways – personal renewal through sunshine and a bit of breathing space, and inner renewal through giving time to deeper thought – about the VISION for our lives.

For me, having been ‘involved’ in RCIA for some 25 years, I am chewing the cud…  I recognise that through participating fully in the RCIA, accompanying those who wish to become Christian in the Catholic tradition, I have discovered with them a catechesis of experience!  I had been brought up with a catechism purely of content, in a church rather too dominated by darkness, fear and guilt.  And I was discovering a catechesis of the Holy Spirit.   If you really take RCIA seriously, and not just pay lip-service to it – it means you are going to change!  I have changed!   I have had to let go of the need to ‘control’ any process, and be open and aware and notice what the Spirit is doing in individuals, groups and the whole community.

RCIA gives us the opportunity and the means to ‘plug in’ to connectivity and friendship with God. We co-operate with grace, and look through the lens of friendship with Christ, and Christ enlarges the vision and brings light.   As we open to the Word each week, pulsing away at the heart of the life of the Church, we encounter Christ who respects traditions, sees need and meets it, and enlarges our view of the world, inviting us to see with different eyes in new light!   What difference has RCIA made to me?  To see that people are the light bearers in our communities – and we must be open to people as full of light rather than darkness.   The Holy Spirit draws us all into becoming a community of people  bound by grace.  Every single enquirer and catechumen story, and the stories of the community who welcome – and full of grace!     The door is open and grace just floods in effecting us all.  I suppose the ‘enemy’ of RCIA is being ‘exclusive’ and making people think that this is something being ‘done to them’ rather than ‘with them’.

Can we take time in these Summer months to leave the surface and dive deeper, allowing the Holy Spirit in us to ‘breathe’ underneath the surface?  RCIA is not just a ‘model’ or  structure that we can control and explain.  It’s part of the living active mystery of God’s life with us – and as each newly initiated person’s journey begins, we can join them in that  cry from the heart ‘we are the baptised!  And what a difference it makes!’