When we think of vocations, we usually think of priests and other religious people, but as Catechists we too have been called to serve a special vocation. For some it was a desire in our hearts to teach the faith that we love. For others, the calling came in the form of an invitation (begging) for teachers in the faith formation programs at our parishes. It is not important how we are called, but that we understand that this calling is from God.

Some have taught for years and have a fairly good understanding of the faith, others are just discovering their faith, but for all of us teaching will deepen our own understanding of what the Church instructs. As we begin this journey we look for guidance to fulfill our roles as educators. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides us with the map for this journey.

We are reminded at the beginning of the Catechism (12) that we must read the Catechism ourselves so that we might understand our faith and be able to teach it. In order to educate others, we must first educate ourselves. It is vital that as we do this, we pray for acceptance of these teachings so that we will not mislead anyone based on our own ideas, but that we teach in full communion with Mother Church.

Later, (2663) we are instructed by the Catechism to be teachers of prayer. In order to do this, we must spend time in daily prayer ourselves. We can do this by something as simple as focusing on each word of the Our Father. Spending quiet time in front of the Blessed Sacrament is a wonderful way to pray, or by reading Holy Scripture and asking God to reveal a deeper understanding of His word to us.

When looking at what the Catechism teaches specifically about Catechists (426, 427,428) it becomes abundantly clear that our role is serious and necessary in the teaching of others. We are encouraged to live our lives with Christ, as Christ, for Christ. We are to relate everything we teach to Him. We are to pick up our own crosses and be willing to live, die and live again with Him. We should shine with joy when we teach. Father Corapi reminds us, “that the teaching of the Catholic Faith should be imparted rather than instructed.” This means that our love of the Catholic Faith will be infectious. Others will desire more knowledge based on our enthusiasm. They will see the fruits of living our faith in our lives.

These instructions of the Church are not meant to discourage us, or make us feel unworthy to teach the faith. It is just the opposite, the more we learn about our faith, the more these teachings become a part of our lives, the better teachers we will become. God bless you and thank you for your service.