Catechist Corner

It's all about sharing the faith.

A New Year, A New Beginning

A New BeginningA new year can bring a new beginning with a fresh perspective … a focus on starting over. We set resolutions at the beginning of the new year. We decide to change things that we have previously done and begin to do new things too. As I reflect on 2012, one major disappointment has been my lack of blogging. Now, I can give you a list of reasons (or maybe excuses) as to why my blogging stopped, and many of them would be valid; but it doesn’t change the fact that I missed sharing things with all of you. So, as I said, a new year can bring a new beginning and that is true for blogging, so here I start here anew.

As is appropriate during Advent, I reflected on what I need to do to prepare for the coming of Christ.  I had the opportunity to look at what was important and focus on those things. Beyond focusing more on my blog, I also realized a need to focus more on my prayer life. That has always been a challenge for me, mostly due to the a busy schedule and there just not being enough hours in the day to do everything one wants. While that has not changed (yep, I’m still pretty busy), I have made the decision to make prayer a bigger priority in my life. I feel real joy when I’m spending time with our Lord and I know that that spending time with me is something He wants too. To help with that, I started keeping a prayer journal on Christmas Day. In the few days that I’ve been keeping that journal, it has really helped me to focus on what I want to say as part of my prayers.

Among the things I pray about are the scripture readings from Mass for the day along with anything that struck me from meditating or reflecting on those readings, how I’m feeling about a particular thing that has happened to me or how I’m feeling in general, asking for forgiveness, praying for intentions, etc. It has really proven to be a great way to organize my prayers and I look forward to writing in my journal each night.

You know, I’m excited about sharing with all of you again. I will probably expand this blog a bit to include the spiritual side of the catechist from time to time. While much if that will be based on my own experiences, I will try to find other things that can enrich the spiritual life of a catechist  as well.  I think it’s time to take this beyond the focus of the classroom, which has been the viewpoint of most of my posts in the past.

Until next time (which should be much sooner than last time), keep sharing the faith.

Living In This Moment

This week, when visiting with my spiritual director, we ended up on the topic the Lord’s name based on a comment around my reading the Bible this year.  Afterwards, he happened to send me this short poem.  I liked it so much that I thought I would share it with you for a little perspective.

 

I was regretting the past and fearing the future…
Suddenly, my Lord was speaking:
 
“My name is I AM.” God paused.
I waited. God continued,
“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard, I am not there.
My name is NOT, I WAS….

When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard, I am not there.
My name is NOT, I WILL BE….
 
When you live in this moment,
it is not hard, I AM HERE.
My name is I AM.”

 

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.

Storytelling and a Stiff-Necked People

Day 55.  I have been following my Bible and Catechism in a Year reading plan, which I mentioned in a prior post,  for 55 days now.  As of today, I am through Genesis and Exodus, through Psalm 57 and through the Gospel According to Matthew.  I’m also through Paragraph 440 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

There is so much to gleam from these two inspired works and so many observations and lessons to learn from them as well.  Two things that have struck me so far as I read the scriptures in a focused way.  The first is the use of parables by Jesus as a means of teaching.  While the use of this method of teaching by Him is not new knowledge for me, reading these parables consecutively like this brings a new perspective as a catechist.  It is so easy for me to “teach” something, but seeing Jesus use them in context like this reminds me of a saying that fellow blogger Joe Paprocki of Catechist’s Journey often quotes from St. Ignatius of Loyola, “entering through their door but leaving through your door”.  This is exactly what Jesus does with these parables.  He frames it in a way that his disciples can relate with, but uses that to bring his lesson out.  It’s very easy to fall back to catechizing from our viewpoint without remembering to catechize from their viewpoint so it has more meaning.

The second observation is from my readings in the Old Testament.  Both the LORD and Moses use the term “stiff-necked people” when referring the people of Israel.  As I’ve been reading, my initial impression is that these people just don’t get it.  Why are they so dense?  I mean, God just smote the first born of an entire nation for them, split a sea in half and fed them out of no where and they are just a bunch of spoiled brats!!  Then it hit me.  We are a “stiff-necked people” too in our day.  In fact, I myself am a “stiff-necked people”, if I am honest with myself.  How many times have I turned my back on God, whether a little of a lot?  Whether I’m choosing to do something else over prayer, or deciding to do something other that what my conscience is telling me to do, I have many time done something contrary to what God wants me to do, even in the face of all the reminders of His will for me.  This makes me just as much a “stiff-necked people” as the decedents of Israel in the Book of Exodus.  We are all sinners and stiff-necked in our own way.  And just how many times did Jesus imply the same thing in Gospel I just finished reading?  This ends up being a good reminder for me for the next time I end up at that crossroads (which should be any minute now).

Deciding to undergo this activity is turning out to be a great method of spiritual growth for me.  I am starting to appreciate scripture so much more by doing this.  I do find myself challenged in relating to the Psalms very well at this point of my readings, however.  I have a tendency to be literal when I read and I’m just not in the middle of a physical war or a battle where I can relate to the psalmist’s plight.  I recognize that I am in a spiritual sense, but I still have trouble relating to many of them.  I’ll have to pray on that point.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.

In a Year

First, let me wish all of my readers a Happy and Blessed New Year!  I hope you have much joy throughout 2012.

As I look forward to the new year, I have been trying to set some goals for myself.  One thing I’ve been considering doing for some time now is to read the Bible completely.  It can easily be a daunting task when you look at the thickness of the book itself, but there is no doubt as to the value one can obtain from reading all of salvation history in Holy Scripture.

As I’ve considered how to best tackle the undertaking, I’ve come across a number of suggestions on how to read through the Bible.  The approach I’ve settled on is to read the Bible in one year.  Many of the one year plans I’ve seen are based on the Protestant Bible, but I did come across a document from an organization called The Coming Home Network International.  They have a plan to not only read the Bible in a year, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well.

I’ve taken their plan schedule and also built it into a spreadsheet format that allows me to keep track of my progress right on my iPad as I use my Bible app and a CCC link right off of that device.  I can read my daily reading from anywhere, and if I miss a day along the way, it’s very easy to catch right back up.  For those interested in the plan, below are links to the original PDF as well as my spreadsheet versions. I would suggest that one always looks at the PDF first, even if they want to use the spreadsheets because the PDF contains some additional guidance where the spreadsheets are exclusively the listing of the daily readings.

Read the Bible and the Catechism in a Year
Original PDF Format
Excel Spreadsheet Format
Open Document Spreadsheet Format

 

I’m looking forward to my own personal growth as I read through the Bible fully, along with the Catechism and I know it will absolutely help in my catechetical ministries.  I hope it can be helpful to all of you as well.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.