I’d like to share with you some of the advice he gave to all those who teach the faith. I also pulled out some of my favorite quotes from the address and turned them into images. You are welcome to right click and save/print those images to hang up as a reminder for you or to give to your fellow catechists and teachers as the school years starts.
Here's three main points summarizing what Pope Francis had to say to the catechists of the world:
Be close to Jesus
We can’t share Jesus with others unless we ourselves know Him and are close to Him (Abide in Him- John 15). Pope Francis encourages us to spend time in prayer, to be with the Lord, to “ignite the fire of friendship with the Lord.” He reminds us that this prayer looks different for people- we have different callings and vocations.
“Being a catechist is not a title; it is an attitude of abiding with him, and it lasts a lifetime! It means abiding in the Lord’s presence and letting ourselves be led by him.”
Imitate Jesus by leaving ourselves behind and going out to encounter others
Pope Francis reminds us that real love is never selfish- God is always at the center and God gives himself away. When we have life in Christ, we are always open to others.
~4~“And this is the job of the catechist: constantly to go forth to others out of love to bear witness and to talk about Jesus, to proclaim Jesus. This is important because the Lord does it; it is the Lord that impels us to go forth.”
Do not be afraid to go with Jesus to the outskirts
Think of the example of Jonah- he was content with his pious life, and Nineveh was outside of his comfort zone. But, if we go to the outskirts, we will always find God there. He is always faithful, and he is always there first in the heart of the person that you will encounter.
“But really is there such a thing as a catechist who is not creative? Creativity is what sustains us as catechists. God is creative; he is not closed, and so he is never inflexible, God is not rigid! He welcomes us, he meets us, he understands us.”
And finally, I think my favorite quote from the whole speech was this:
“If a catechist has an easy time of it, he or she will end up in a museum.”
Isn’t that the truth! This isn’t an easy job, and you and I know that. We are fighting an uphill battle against sin, culture, lifestyles, media, etc. The mix of kids in our classrooms have needs that we can’t meet. We may feel inadequate, ill-equipped, and stretched thin. But that quote summarizes the work of being a catechist- it isn’t going to be easy. Embracing the cross and fighting for truth never is. We weren’t promised easy, but we are promised that Christ will be with us. We can remember that we are doing His work. We know that we can trust and abide in him and his perfect mercy.
Thanks to all of you catechists and teachers of all kinds for being ready to do God’s work again this year.