I just finished another novel by Earl Stanley Gardner. Gardner is the creator of Perry Mason, and he wrote more than 80 stories featuring the brilliant lawyer-detective. Gardner is really good at drawing the reader into the mystery and making you think you’ve solved the crime before the end of the book. But then there is a twist, and you realize you had no idea what the solution was.
As catechists, we’re also supposed to draw people into a mystery—the mystery of faith (see Directory of Catechesis 114b). But we are not doing what Gardner does. Mystery writers hide the solution until the very end, continually trying to keep us guessing.
God is already at work
What catechists do is reveal the heart of the mystery—not at the very end but at the very beginning. And that makes us mystagogues.
As mytagogues, we accompany the catechumens and candidates into the mystery of the faith and to prepare them for the sacraments.
To achieve this, we balance the content of the faith with the profound mystery of faith (see RCIA 75.1). However, we do not have all the answers. As mystagogues, we recognize that God is already at work in the lives of seekers, and our job is to help them see the miraculous ways in which God has been showing up in their lives. We walk alongside them, accompanying them as we explore the mystery of faith together.
Our job as mystagogues is to help them see the miraculous ways in which God has been showing up in the lives of seekers. We walk alongside them, accompanying them as we explore the mystery of faith together.
A new paradigm
This was a new paradigm for me when I began working in the catechumenate. I used to think I had all the answers, but being a Christian is not about what we learn in school or from books. It’s about encountering a person, Jesus Christ, who gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction (see Pope Benedict XVI, God Is Love, 1).
Unlike a mystery writer, I don’t know all the twists and turns that are going to happen as we journey together. But I trust that, led by the Holy Spirit, the mystery of faith will be revealed to us more and more.
Can you help me out?
I’d love to know how this is landing. Can you share a word or a phrase about how this article resonates with you? Does it speak to your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments box below. Thanks for being part of the conversion!
8 thoughts on “Revealing the mystery of faith: The role of the mystagogue”
“God is already at work in the lives of seekers, and our job is to help them see the miraculous ways in which God has been showing up in their lives. We walk alongside them, accompanying them as we explore the mystery of faith together.”
I think this is the essence of our role as RCIA team members. Well said!
Hi Toni. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree, that is the essence of our role as accompanists.
The Holy Spirit uses those in RCIA as both intermediaries and subjects. Our role is to be “open,” and “enthusiastic.” Guided by the magisterium, that which we convey needs to be both stimulating and inviting. “One word answers,” rarely suffice.
Peace comes about with truth, justice, liberty and love. We need to see those of us as RCIA ambassadors – thus “peace-makers.”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Richard. Blessings!
Hi, Nick. Thanks for this. Amen!
In reading and re-reading your article, I considered that many of us are ourselves less aware of, or perhaps less attentive to and excited by, the mystery of God’s presence and action in our own lives. It is too easy to be busy about many things, so we neglect to take the time, quiet, and (perhaps) courage to discover and savor those small, simple and breathtaking ways that God is present in our lives.
Even in the midst of busy or difficult times — or perhaps especially at those times — the moments we take to recognize and celebrate God’s presence and gifts are so precious! Thanks for the reminder! Peace and all blessings!
Hi Clare. I agree about the way in which busy-ness can obscure our awareness of the mystery of God’s presence. That’s certainly true in my life. I think the saints among us are those who can recognize God’s presence even in the most difficult times. I’m not there yet!
Thank you Nick. I totally agree that the catechists’ role is to gently walk the journey of Faith, with the Catechumens. Much Prayer is needed in this journey asking the Holy Spirit to guide us in this wonderful task. Much love needs to be shown and shared….the Love that God is unconditionally blessing us with, through lour Lord, Jesus. God’s Blessings to you and Diana
Hi Orille. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your insight about our role on the journey!