How can we ensure a liturgical approach in our catechesis?
The heart of what the Church means by liturgical catechesis is that we proceed from ‘the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the sacraments to the mysteries’ (CCC 1075). This is the secret of all good liturgical catechesis! Liturgy, after all, enables a spiritual encounter with Christ Our Lord – which is why the liturgy is described is the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed’ (CCC 1074).
We could say that there are three aspects to liturgical catechesis:
Firstly, there is the catechetical preparation for liturgy: we can call this ‘teaching to the Rite’. We catechise about the Liturgy so that people know what to expect, so that they are taught the meaning of what they will see and experience.
Secondly, there is the catechesis that takes place through the liturgy itself: Christ and His Bride instruct us by means of the liturgy, enlightening the mind and the heart.
Thirdly, there is the catechesis that follows from the grace of the liturgy: this is called ‘mystagogia’.
Our focus in this article is on the first of these three – we are looking at how to catechise so as to prepare people for the liturgy. We also give concrete suggestions for how to provide opportunities for those being catechised to experience liturgy more, and so be catechised by the liturgy itself.