I spent all day Saturday in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, leading an RCIA day focused on conversion and discernment.
This has become one of my favorite topics. I begin with an exploration of the meaning of baptism. We talk about the Christian journey "from the font to the banquet of heaven" and what this journey means in the area of our own conversion. I then focus our attention on the Church's understanding of conversion, by looking at Paul VI's Evangelii Nuntiandi, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These documents provide jumping off points to examine our own conversion; our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the questions I use to help the participants examine their own journey of conversion is this one: "When did Jesus Christ turn from an idea, or a person to study, or a figure in history into much, much more for you?" I love watching the faces on most Catholics when I ask this question. At first, they have quizzical expressions. Then, when they reflect further and start sharing with one another, you can see how they begin to realize how important the articulation of their relationship with the Lord actually is.
Catechumens and candidates in the RCIA process need to meet Christ in the real lives of RCIA ministers. I am becoming more and more convinced that that cannot meet Christ on a handout.
Here are the good folks in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, conversing with one another.
I try to tell my own story of the discovery of Jesus Christ in my own life, describing that personal relationship. But you know, I have reached a point in my life when I am not afraid also to talk about those times, sometimes long stretches of time, when the Lord has seemed absent in my life.
I think people need leaders like me, who are people unafraid to talk about faith, to also talk about the struggles to find God, and to name times when God seems absent.
It was a good day in Atlanta.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.