Thursday, October 7, 2010

Called to be a Catechist?

I love to teach the Faith, be it to children, adults in RCIA, or through Bible study. I can't imagine not sharing the joy of Christ in my life through the teachings of His Church. I'm not the perfect teacher -- or the perfect human being -- but, I love the Faith in a way that makes it difficult for me not to share it's beauty with others.

This is the time of year where every parish is starting its CCD and Adult Ed. programs. There is always a need for people to come forward and teach the Faith to those who need and want to learn. So, why is there always a shortage of teachers? What is so daunting about teaching the Faith to others?

St. Paul says, "...to the wise and the ignorant, I am under obligation; that is why I am eager to preach the gospel also to you in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes... (Rom 1:14-16) This should be for us a call to enlighten those around us, and even ourselves, to the Truths we profess to believe. We should not fear the Gospel, but seek to share the Gospel with others.

The wonderful thing about teaching children the faith of the Catholic Church is that the explanations are both simple and profound. Many adults who take on the role of a CCD teacher find that they learn as they instruct. It's a win/win situation. But, to get there, a person must set aside their fear and take up the task. If your child has been the beneficiary of the instruction of others, perhaps it is time to think about giving back and offering your service as a teacher to help benefit other children.

Adult education is a little more involved, although I wouldn't discourage anyone from trying to teach an adult group. But, be prepared -- the questions in adult formation groups can be deep and complicated. Often times, a teacher might have to say, "I'll get back to you on that" to student. But, that shouldn't be a reason not to teach, that is a moment of "human-ness" -- we don't and can't know everything. It's perfectly fine to say, "I don't know the answer to that."

What is important is this: we need people willing to give of their time and talent to spread the Good News. Even if you don't feel capable or qualified, it is essential to realize that the Lord doesn't expect perfection, but rather as St. Theresa of Calcutta once said, "He expects us to try." Remember, too, that you are being tasked with presenting the Faith in a manner that will encourage a deeper more meaningful relationship with Christ. If you're teaching with this goal in mind, the outcome might be a deeper and more meaningful personal relationship with Christ. Like I said, it's a win/win situation.

Prayerfully consider becoming a catechist or assisting with adult faith formation in your parish. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:
Catechesis aims at putting "people . . . in communion . . . with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity. (CCC 426)
Say YES to that call to bring the light of Christ to others through the gift of your time and talent as a catechist. Blessings will abound!

2 comments:

Kasclar said...

This was a wonderful post! I have often thought about helping with RCIA or CCD, but have yet to do so, mostly due to pregnancies that I know will cause me to have to leave part way through the year and then we end up losing the baby and I need a break from being around kids at all. So the timing never seems right. Which really just sounds like an excuse (although a legitamate one), but I do hope I'll be able to follow that tug one day.

Oh, I also used to teach as an adjunct prof and one of my colleagues who helped mentor me in that emphasized that it was okay to tell a student "I don't know the answer, but I'll find out and get back to you." Nice to see you mention it here as well. I hope children in CCD and adults in adult formation or RCIA are accepting of that!! I think it's a great answer, but my grad students always seemed put out. I guess they thought I was supposed to know everything! Ha!! Thanks again! Enjoyed this post very much!

Kathy said...

Thank you for your kind words.

At least you are listening -- and, sometimes it's better to just jump right in and give it a go.

I'm sure you'll make an excellent catechist.