Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mystagogy in Lansing

Hello everyone. Well, I have been complaining about the wet and overcast Chicago weather for a number of weeks. Now we are in the middle of a heat wave, with heat advisories posted for the Chicago area. It is supposed to be in the low 90's today. The sun is blazing in the sky—it is just plain hot out there. 

I am headed to the diocese of Lansing, Michigan tomorrow. I will be one of the presenters at a two-day institute co-sponsored by the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. Our focus is on the period of mystagogy in the RCIA. This is one of the most problematic periods because it is the period that follows the celebration of the sacraments of initiation. Many RCIA ministers complain that the newly initiated see the celebration of the initiation sacraments as a kind of graduation ceremony from "the program." The Church envisions an intense post-baptismal period during which the community and the newly initiated "deepen their grasp of the paschal mystery." So for the next three days, approximately 80 RCIA ministers from as far away as Hawaii will gather at Bethany House in the diocese of Lansing. Here's a photo I found of the chapel there. I'm looking forward to praying here.

One of the great mystagogs in Church history is Cyril of Jerusalem. 

Here is one of my favorite sections from one of his mystagogical homilies. He would have preached this homily on one of the weekdays of the Easter Octave. His audience would have included those baptized a few days earlier:
"I long ago desired, true-born and dearly beloved children of the Church, to discourse to you concerning these spiritual and heavenly Mysteries; but knowing well, that seeing is far more persuasive than hearing, I waited till this season; that finding you more open to the influence of my words from this your experience, I might take and lead you to the brighter and more fragrant meadow of this present paradise."

I'll take a along my camera to Lansing tomorrow and share some of the experience with you as it unfolds. I hope your Tuesday is a good one. Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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