"We are Catholics desiring to know, love and serve our Lord Jesus Christ."
Knowing, Loving and Serving Our God
During the Christmas season, at the celebration of the Holy Family, the Gospel concluded with the statement, "The child (Jesus) grew and became strong, filled with wisdom and the favor of God was upon him." Every family who brings children to our religious education and school programs is hoping for that same outcome for their children. As catechists, teachers and catechetical leaders we are called to assist the parents, the primary educators of the children, in fulfilling that hope.
In New Testament times, three elements of faith received particular emphasis. In Greek, these elements were known as kerygma, leitourgia and diakonia. By including these elements in the catechesis that we provide to our students, we can do much that can help parents realize their hope.
Kerygma can be defined as the proclamation of religious truths. In his letter to the Romans, Paul asked, "…how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe unless they have heard of him?" (Romans 10:14) Our formation programs, for children, youth and adults, are certainly called to proclaim the truths of the Catholic faith. Faithfully and fully proclaiming our faith, kerygma, will enable those who participate in our programs to know Jesus Christ.
Leitourgia, liturgy or worship, is the most appropriate response to the proclamation of faith. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says, "I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1) Hopefully, through participation in our formation programs our students are motivated to actively participate in our church's liturgy. And, through that worship, leitourgia, they develop an ever deeper love for our Lord.
Diakonia, ministry or service, is motivated through both our knowledge and our love of Christ. In the parable of the last judgment from in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says :
"Then the just will ask him: 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you drink? When did we welcome you away from home or clothe you in your nakedness? When did we visit you when you were ill or in prison?' The king will answer them: 'I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.'" (Matthew 25: 37-40)
Our formation programs, in the spirit of diakonia, are most effective when opportunities for service are provide as an integral part of the catechetical process. Through these experiences of service, diakonia, our students will form, as a life long habit, the desire to serve Christ through service to others.