Most of us who serve as catechists in a religious education or youth ministry program share some common attributes:
- Our faith is important to us. It has served as a compass for our life;
- We want others to come to know the beauty of the Catholic faith;
- We answered a call for catechists—sometimes generously and sometimes reluctantly, only because we are aware of our limitations.
It’s vitally important to the life of the Church that our faith is handed on to the next generation with fidelity and accuracy. But it’s not always easy. Sometimes we are blessed with people who are sincerely interested in learning about our faith. But many times, if we are working with young people, we have people in front of us who are, at best, neutral toward faith and, at worst, a little hostile. If that is your situation, thank you! You are right where you are supposed to be.
If you’re catechizing the unenthused, I invite you to consider yourself not only a teacher of the faith but also a healer in faith. Behind those blank stares are young men and women who are probably carrying significant wounds—family wounds, relational difficulties, anxiety, depression, and loneliness to name just a few. Rather than being exasperated at the disinterest we see, can we look on our youth with the compassionate eyes of Jesus?