{ the end }

Tonight was the last night for a 'pre-confirmation' class I have taught since September.  Every Wednesday.  It was a bible class based on the liturgical readings for the coming Sunday liturgy.  There were 15 students including my son, Joshua.  Who was the only reason I was teaching this class - reason being I wanted to ensure he was not taught any erroneous concepts and ideas.

What I wasn't prepared for was the lack of catechesis (basic stuff) exhibited by the youth.  While being quite surprised I was even more saddened that this is what has happened to many in our Church - both young and not so young.  We are now seeing (and paying the price for) a watered down system of catechisis that those in my generation received for the most part.

Growing up things were more about feelings and, almost in a pentecostal fashion, more concerened with the laity being 'moved by the spirit'  more than anything else.  It's understandable that this occurred.  With all the other changes that were happening at the time there was a major shift away from the way things used to be done in favor of new and exciting ideas.  Jesus was not so much our Lord anymore as he was our brother.  Catechetical books like the Baltimore Chatecism were left to collect dust on the shelves so we could have books that talked more about love and forgiveness.  Now, don't get me wrong.  Love and forgiveness of course should be taught (seeing how Charity is a theological virtue) but to teach them in a vacuum without any true catechesis on the source and reason for Love seems quite lacking.  Otherwise, love is just a feeling that can wane depending on the situation.  It is not rooted in a God of love but lacks any roots when it is not taught in the context of theology, the bible and teachings of the magisterium.  

So...what does this have to do with the price of eggs in china?  Well, that was what my class all year ended up revolving around.  We did cover the readings for the upcoming Sunday but always in the context of love - God's love.  It was a struggle at times.  I only asked for honesty in my class ... and that's what i received.  None of them wanted to be there and were there only because their parent(s) made them go.  Practically all do not go to mass.  We talked about why.  We talked about why they should go.  I will even admit that I tried to even sometimes guilt them into going (hey - I'm Catholic - don't judge...) but always with the intent and prayer that they would see a glimpse of God's love in that visit.  

We started with the question 'Why did God even make us?' and tonight I finished with the parable of the prodigal son.  It's my favorite.  I'm sure because it's the one that gives me the greatest hope for redemption and forgiveness.  So, as we were sitting out on the benches I recounted the parable stopping to ask them to think about certain parts of the story and what they could possibly mean.  As always, when I share this one I got a little choked up when the Father embraces the son back into his life and then I reminded them that as they continue to go through life the one thing I hope and pray for them is that they remember that God our Father is always waiting for our return and there is nothing that we can do that he won't forgive.  No matter where they are or what they've done He'll be waiting.

So, ya it's sad that our youth are not as well catechized as they should be but the one thing to remember is that the message hasn't changed and they still need to hear it...and we need to live it.

{Deus Caritas Est}