Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Another Interesting Seminar

We had our third session for members of Religious Congregations today. The topic was "Discipleship Discerns Vocation" and we began by analysing a passage about the Holy Spirit used in a GCSE Exam Board Syllabus on Catholic Christianity. The purpose was to see what young people are really being taught at school in order to better understand the level of formation in the faith we can expect young people to have today.

We went on to consider some of the other challenges facing young people, including those that could arise from life in a dysfunctional family or growing up without faith in a secular and hedonistic society. If that sounds all a bit negative, it is important to realise that before a doctor can treat a patient he has to diagnose the illness. It is also truth that if we ignore the symptoms the likelihood is that the disease will get worse and may become inoperable and even terminal.

We then looked at the building blocks of Christian Discipleship. A disciple isn't someone who says "Lord, Lord!". The word disciple finds its root in the Latin "discernere" - to learn. In other words, a disciple is someone who learns from Christ. To learn from anyone requires time and intentionality. We have to spend time learning about Christ and being with him in prayer. We have to learn to imitate him. This led us to a discussion of the universal call to sanctity and also of the importance of developing the human and theological virtues. By then it was lunch time!

After lunch I presented a plan of formation we have successfully adopted with both the Quo Vadis Group and the Frassati Society. It is a model of friendship, catechesis, prayer and service. In presenting this I tried to unpack the elements of a spiritual renewal in a young person who has come to the practice of the faith and also how we might help young people grow in virtue. It led to some interesting discussions although, before we knew it, the Cardinals were processing into the Sistine Chapel and the time had come to follow the live stream from the Vatican and be united with them in prayer.

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