“God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” — Mother St. Teresa
In the morning as my daughters get ready to leave for school, I often hear words such as these: “Mom, don’t forget to pack my snow pants.” “Mom, can I have a dollar?” “Mom, can you give us a ride today?” “I love you too, Mom.” I hear my wife called “Mom” constantly between 6:10 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. One phrase my wife tells our daughters each morning is: “Be yourself, don’t be a follower.” In other words, you will be called in many directions.
Do your best to discern what is truthful and respond accordingly.All of us are called in different ways and by different demands on our time. The six of us on the RCIA Team at Roncalli Newman Parish (RNC) in La Crosse were called. What was put before us was a call to welcome, profess and discuss with those interested in the Catholic Church why we do what we do; what we believe; profess; and try to live out to the best of our ability.
With any call, a response is required. When determining how to answer a call to help people on their faith journey, one emotion can surface: fear. For those on the RCIA Team, fearful thoughts may surface, such as: What do I have to offer? What if I can’t answer a question the night I am to teach? Or, from a catechumen or candidate, fear may come in this form: What will my family, who is part of another faith tradition, think of me? How will Catholicism affect my lifestyle?
I am impressed by those who answer the call to teach and by those who COME AND SEE why we do what we do as Catholics. Why? Because it takes courage. There is no need for courage unless some fear, some unknown, is present.
The RCIA class is not about success or failure. These words are irrelevant when it comes to a soul. None of us is a success or a failure in God’s eyes. We are His children. As a dad, I understand this. I find it impossible to label my children a success or a failure. If I, a mortal being, have these thoughts, God, who is infinitely wiser than me, must have a vision, a thought about His children that’s much more endearing. The same goes for those involved in the RCIA process: teachers, catechumens, candidates, godparents, sponsors and family members. What would success or failure look like for each of these participants? These terms are irrelevant compared to discerning what is lasting truth in a world that continues to re-invent itself.
What is relevant is our faithfulness to saying yes to the continual call from God, the source of all truth. Remaining faithful takes courage and commitment — in season and out of season — as we try to live our lives according to the truths professed by the Church.
Within the RCIA process, there are many different talents to those on the RCIA Team. What is common? Our commitment to courageously discern the truth. Individually, we may have different perspectives. During the weekly classes, we are able to discern and come to a better understanding as we hope the catechumens and candidates do when they say yes to their own call to COME AND SEE. No question is to be repressed. The truth welcomes these questions and discernment. The truth welcomes our call. No door is ever closed to someone wanting to attend or to leave the RCIA program, be it instructor, catechumen or candidate. As RCIA teachers, we must be open to accepting someone’s decision to either continue as Catholic or their decision to end their pursuit, no matter how hard that may be.
Be yourself, don’t be a follower. We are to do our best to discern what is truthful and respond accordingly. The same goes for the RCIA journey. If you feel called to help others to enter the Church, but are afraid you won’t be successful, have courage that you will be given the graces you need in those moments to help them discern their call. Or, if you know someone who has expressed interest in the Church, have them come and see to discern their call. There is no success or failure when exploring the Catholic Church, either as a teacher or a candidate, only discovery of the truth.
Deacon Dave Belland
Roncalli Newman Parish in La Crosse