Most catechists will have experienced the frustrating situation where those being taught are not actively disagreeing with anything being presented – and yet there is not the smallest spark of interest in what is being communicated. The presentation leaves the listener cold. No spark has been generated.
It is noteworthy, therefore, that the Catechism places a section on the desire for God and for the truths of the Faith at the very beginning of the work (CCC 27-30). At the heart of the catechetical process there must be a desire, in the one being catechised, to receive the Revelation which is being transmitted.
We find similar thoughts centuries before the preaching of the Gospel, in Plato, the Father of Western philosophy, who understood the central importance of motivation for learning. His dialogue the Meno revolves around the question of how knowledge can be gained, and in this dialogue Socrates insists that there is no way that knowledge can be imparted independently of the learner’s desiring to receive it. The learner must be motivated to learn, and must be active in the learning process. The General Directory for Catechesis echoes this idea, insisting that catechumens need to understand themselves to be ‘co-responsible’ in the learning process (GDC 167).