Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catholic Culture How?

If Catholic culture is important,then how are we to pass it on to the ones in our care as catechists?
It would be foolish to think that someone who was ignorant of carpentry could teach another the art of making a house. Or that someone who lacked knowledge of biology could teach another the metabolic processes of a shrimp. How could it be expected that a catechist who is not seeped in Catholic culture could pass the knowledge of the traditions and Traditions of the Church to their students?
It is fairly obvious that to be a devoted minister of the teaching of Church doctrine and Tradition the catechist must pray, and pray often and with real intent. The style of prayer is not terribly important. Each person will prefer a specific style of prayer. The catechist should be familiar with as many styles as possible but in their personal prayer they should use whichever is most comfortable to them.
Likewise it is necessary to be familiar with the Saints. Our elder brothers and sisters have much to teach us. Intercessory prayer to the Saints is a strong component of Catholic culture. We learn from the example of the Saint's lives. We hope for the response of God to the prayers we request of the Saints in our own prayers.
Especially the lives of the martyrs should be studied and read. Their stories give strength and hope to the faithful, as well as a warning of the possibilities to come if the culture of death gets too strong.
We can not know God unless we know Scripture. As St. Jerome said, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of God." We must especially know salvation history as it is recounted in Scripture.
A knowledge of liturgy, especially of the general form of the Mass, the liturgical calendar, the significance of the specific seasons and High Holy days is vital. We, as Catholics live in according to a rhythm of prayer and sacrifice and feasting. Day by day we as a Church pray according to the Liturgy of the Hours. Church bells use to mark the passing of the hours. In many places the Angelus is still rung marking morning, noon and night. The seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter are still celebrated at the times set forth by the Church, even by those who deny her authority, even by those who fail to acknowledge the Lord's existence. The catechist should be familiar enough with the rhyme and reason of these facts, else how can they be passed on to the faithful.
Familiarity with the Sacraments is vital to the catechist. Not just theoretical knowledge, but also for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist a knowledge gain through the regular practice thereof.
It should go without say that regular Mass attendance on all of the Holy Days of Obligation, which includes every Sunday, is a given.
These activities will help prepare the catechist for their ministry. Only with the help and support of the Holy Spirit will success in the transmission of Catholic culture be accomplished. So of all of the above suggestions prayer is the most important.