So often, I love the thinking, theory parts of my faith life. I like to think about how things work and go all deep and thinkoretical. I’ve always been this way.
I was all set to live my life this way until right after I became Catholic. It was at that point, with the sun streaming in through our little parish church, when the director of religious education found me and turned her big brown eyes on me.
“You’d be great as a catechist,” she said, so sincerely, so charmingly, so humbly.
Yeah, you know the drill. I said yes. And life has never been the same.
You see, there’s nothing like a class full of younger people—in my introductory case, 3rd graders—to make all that theory into just a bunch of marshmallows. They don’t care what it’s supposed to look like. They want to know how it is. They want to know why. They want to know how.
And the thing about kids, whether they’re in 3rd grade or 5th grade or Confirmation-aged, is that they’ll ask. They’ll demand (if you’re lucky) or they’ll tune you out (if you’re not).
Over the years, I’ve learned that parents—and, really, all adults—aren’t so different. Give them, for example, a tangible way to apply the commandments and live the beatitudes, and, while they might wiggle their eyebrows (their kids got it naturally), they will also think about it. They will probably try them. With God at work, they may even start to make them their own.
There is a longing in the Catholics all around us for Truth and, even more, for ways to apply Truth. We’re at odds with the world around us, but we’re also so very conditioned and immersed in life…where’s the line? How do we know?
That’s where the last six commandments come in. And, if you stop for a minute, it’s also where the beatitude about mercy—”Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”—comes in.