Saturday, 19 March 2011


It is remarkable how often we assume we know something simply because we have heard people talk about it. Years may go by, and then we suddenly realize that we never really understood what they were on about. That may happen at any level or stage of our lives. It happens to children, but it also happens to adults, no matter how educated or distinguished they may be. It happens to all of us, because it is part of the process by which we grow.

In the case of Christianity, there is no shame in admitting that we do not understand the least thing about it. It appears to us at times like an ideology, a system of thought and ideas that can be learnt and mastered like any other. I can inform myself about its tenets, I can decide between the various interpretations on offer, and I may or may not decide to accept it. But none of this is really Christianity: it is a human invention designed to take the place of Christianity. Christianity actually is a relationship not with an idea, but with a person – Jesus Christ. The reason we do not understand Christianity is that we understand neither Christ nor what it means to be in relationship with him. 

The need for ongoing catechesis in the mysteries of Christ and of the Church, a catechesis traditionally known as mystagogia (“initiation into the mysteries”), has been noted in Church circles for years. Baptism and Confirmation may only be given once; initiation is a continuing adventure, since the grace of the sacraments is the source of a new life that must continue to grow if it is not to wither and die.

See also THIS POST on Mystagogy over on my other blog.

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