In his book, 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator, Jared Dees asks catechists to define their calling. In Catholic-speak, “calling” is a big word. When I think of “calling,” I think of Noah or Jonah or Peter. I think about those big, important Bible heroes who actually heard God’s voice.
In current times, I think of priests and nuns as having a calling. Some lay people like Dorothy Day and Nelson Mandela have a calling. It took me a long time to realize I also have a calling. And so do you.
I had a friend who struggled with this too (and he was priest!). He used to say, “Lord, I will do whatever you ask of me. Just fax it to me in large print.” In other words, how do I know that this is what God is calling me to? Am I really a called-by-God-RCIA-catechist? Or am I just helping out?
How to know if we are called to RCIA ministry
Jared suggests we deepen our understanding of God’s call by exploring why being a catechist is important to us. He asks a series of questions to help us develop a “Big Why List.” By answering these questions, we will start to understand more clearly what our specific call is. I am adapting his questions a little bit for RCIA catechists:
- What is the one thing about God that the catechumens need to understand most?
- What is the one belief catechumens struggle with the most?
- What one spiritual practice would most benefit the catechumens?
- If I could help the catechumens make one change in their lives, what would that be?
- What aspect of faith are the catechumens missing most in their lives?
- What are the biggest problems the catechumens face?
Once you have written down answers to those questions, circle the answer that makes you the most excited or riled up. The thing that gets you most riled up is “God’s voice.” That is what the Holy Spirit put on your heart and made your concern. That is your call. Your specific, custom-made, one-of-a-kind call to discipleship. God is asking you to head out to the Nineveh of your day to proclaim the good news about the one thing you are most concerned about for your catechumens.
When I did this exercise, the thing that jumped out at me right away was that the catechumens really need to know how much God loves them—just as they are. So many of them come to us with a sense of unworthiness and second-bestness. My call is to keep telling them and showing them how much God loves them.
What are you called to?
You might think you are just helping out on the team and you don’t have a true calling. If that’s the case, I urge you to try this exercise. Spend some significant time thinking about and praying about the questions above. And then come back and share with us what your call is. What is God asking you to do?
“The Inspiration of Saint Matthew” by Caravaggio | Public Domain