RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Permanent Mystagogy

Authored by R. Jared Staudt in Issue #1.1 of The Catechetical Review

According to the General Directory for Catechesis, “adult catechesis must be given priority.”[1] In fact, the GDC links adult catechesis to the baptismal catechumenate: [Adult catechesis] “involves ‘a post-baptismal catechesis, in the form of a catechumenate...presenting again some elements from the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults with the purpose of allowing a person to grasp and live the immense, extraordinary richness and responsibility received at Baptism.’”[2] Therefore, adult catechesis is not simply a refresher course in content but is permeated by the idea that the life of Baptism (and each of the sacraments) must be lived in maturity. And this requires ongoing formation and support, a “permanent mystagogy.”[3] Therefore, Pope Benedict XVI, in Sacramentum Caritatis, calls for a “mystagogical approach to catechesis, which would lead the faithful to understand more deeply the mysteries being celebrated.”[4]

Initiation is ultimately ordered to being one with our Lord in an intimate and eternal communion. Such intimacy requires that we approach Jesus’s Body with love, free from serious sin, and with a reverent disposition. However, many seem to take the reception of Communion lightly in the Church today. Reception of the Eucharist, for many, has become routine, uniform, and even presumed as a right, regardless of canonical standing or state of soul. We know from St. Paul that improper reception of Communion works against its true purpose and rather than deepening our participation in the life of God, it can actually alienate us from him:

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself" (1 Cor. 11:27-30, RSV).

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This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

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