Paragraph 75 of the RCIA lists the four pillars of catechesis that we are expected to provide for the catechumens. The RCIA says they are to have a “mature” ability in each of these four areas. “Mature” means mature for a beginner in the faith. We don’t except the catechumens to have the same level of mastery that their catechists have in each of these areas. We do expect, however, a very high level of mastery from the catechists.
So what does mature faith look like for us? Let’s look at the fourth pillar, paragraph 75.4:
Since the church’s life is apostolic, catechumens should also learn how to work actively with others to spread the gospel and build up the church by the witness of their lives and by professing their faith.
For catechists to be able to effectively model what apostolic service looks like, we need to have mastered the seven principles of Catholic social teaching. These can be summarized as the church’s teaching on:
- human dignity
- family and community
- solidarity with all humanity
- the dignity of work
- human rights and responsibilities
- the option for the poor
- caring for God’s creation
If you’re like me, you are stronger in some of these areas and weaker in others. Since, as catechists, we are always engaged in ongoing faith formation, we can seek out opportunities to strengthen our service in those areas we might be neglecting. And we can mentor others in those areas where we might be stronger.
What we should all be able to do, however, is give a one or two sentence summary of each of these teachings and a recent example of how we have tried to live that teaching.
Since we’ve just started the church’s new year, perhaps we could all make a new year’s resolution to raise our practice of the church’s social teaching by “one” (whatever you define as “one”) by Ash Wednesday. Hit the comments link and let us know some ways you model the church’s social teaching.