I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. You’ve got to love it when a Saint (or nearly Saint) backs you up!
Last week I wrote a post titled “Why Education in the Faith is Not Enough.” In it, I proposed that the job of the catechist is to facilitate encounters with Christ. The knowledge we pass on is important but it’s not the goal. The encounter is the goal.
Fulton Sheen–My Hero!
Well, last night I ran across this quote from Archbishop Fulton Sheen on Eucharistic adoration that said the same thing.
“Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough go keep us in love with Christ unless both are preceded by a personal encounter with him. I have found that it takes some time to catch fire in prayer. This has been one of the advantages of the Holy Hour. Sitting before the Presence is like a body exposing itself to the sun to absorb its rays. In those moments one does not so much pour out written prayers, but listening takes place. The Holy Hour became a teacher for me. Although, before we love anyone we must have knowledge of that person, nevertheless, after we know, it is love that intensifies knowledge.” (Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Treasure in Clay, emphasis added)
This rings so true for me. At first, you make a friend by sharing a common interest or a similar sense of humor. The more you know about them, the more you like them.
But at some point, it reverses. You want to know them better because you like them. Attraction drives gaining knowledge of them.
I think it’s the same way with God. In our catechesis, we have to orient the knowledge we impart toward fostering and growing love of God. Then later, that love will drive them to seek more knowledge of him.
It’s a catechetical feedback loop for lifelong learning and intensifying love. This is effective catechesis.