Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Inspiring a Wholehearted Faith in a Half-hearted Age

ERI is a project of the Cornerstone Forum: The presenter is Gil Bailie, author & Catholic layman. - It is a series of monthly presentations for parishioners, students, educators, pastors, and all who are interested in "spreading the faith and bringing it to maturity."

Gil was in Wheaton, IL last night and I was fortunate enough to have been able to attend his ERI presentation at St. Michael Catholic Church. In this introductory session he mapped out the journey for the next few months of the series, giving the audience a taste for what is in store.
As usual there is so much background packed into one of his talks ... I would like to expand on just two statements: 1) Inspiring a Wholehearted Faith in a Half-hearted Age and 2) "spreading the faith and bringing it to maturity."

Where do you start to inspire a wholehearted faith in this half-hearted age? Gil gives us the answer right off the bat: You start with the liturgy - you begin with the food of truth. Here is a link for understanding this and hopefully it will provide confidence in each of us to take ownership in the spreading of the faith and bringing it to maturity.

POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS OF THE HOLY FATHER BENEDICT XVI

Mystagogical catechesis

The Church's great liturgical tradition teaches us that fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated, offering one's life to God in unity with the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the whole world. For this reason, the Synod of Bishops asked that the faithful be helped to make their interior dispositions correspond to their gestures and words...

The mature fruit of mystagogy is an awareness that one's life is being progressively transformed by the holy mysteries being celebrated. The aim of all Christian education, moreover, is to train the believer in an adult faith that can make him a "new creation", capable of bearing witness in his surroundings to the Christian hope that inspires him.

If we are to succeed in carrying out this work of education in our ecclesial communities, those responsible for formation must be adequately prepared. Indeed, the whole people of God should feel involved in this formation. Each Christian community is called to be a place where people can be taught about the mysteries celebrated in faith. In this regard, the Synod Fathers called for greater involvement by communities of consecrated life, movements and groups which, by their specific charisms, can give new impetus to Christian formation. In our time, too, the Holy Spirit freely bestows his gifts to sustain the apostolic mission of the Church, which is charged with spreading the faith and bringing it to maturity.

The Emmaus Road Initiative inevitably starts here at Christian formation to help us grow and deepen our faith so to be the light of Christ to the world. So do yourself, and the world, a favor - become a regular attendee of the Emmaus Road Initiative.

2 comments:

Athos said...

Amazing it is how these talks evolve and mature as Bailie tours the country, Aramis. I hardly recognize what I heard back in his first session in DC. That isn't to gainsay anything in your post; it's all good, hearty good for maturing in faith and love-in-action.

I'm glad you got to St. Michaels!

Aramis said...

Dear Athos, As I said in the post, I am expanding on 2 statements ... because as usual, IMO, each of his statements could use a bit of unpacking or expanding.

He did say he had more spontaneity in the talk early on, but that it has evolved to where he uses notes much more now. He has found relief in this position from a Ratzinger quote, “… The greatness of the liturgy depends … on its un-spontaneity.”

After the talk, reviewing my notes I noticed his use of “maturity” and looking at the ERI literature I found that he also uses it there – I feel that this idea of maturity needs to be drawn out more. The paradox (or mystery) of the Christian faith is one that almost takes us into prayer and this is so important to the overall presentation. Gil makes a great point of the paradox of faith and how it keeps us ever-young and fresh as our faith grows into maturity. And maturity comes ONLY at the point of decision – to sacrifice all other choices – for the 1.

He did a great job in introducing everyone to the problem of scandal and fear. When he got into some of the more controversial topics he made sure to preface them with a quote from either de Lubac or Balthasar about pitying those who were catechized in fear of something. Catechism should be built on freedom, love and obedience to the True Transcendent One. So even though Gil feels that we need to be made aware of some of these darker issues we need to remember that we grow in faith by falling in love and not by fear.