Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Best Method

In one of my heydays as a catechist, I remember a priest delivering his homily with all gusto.

He was in his best element, animatedly presenting the crux of the Gospel passage to the assembly, composed mostly of young people. And then suddenly, as if forgetting something, he went inside the sacristy. When he returned, we were all both amused and surprised seeing him wearing a frightening mask. To synchronize it with his appearance, he altered his voice to produce a scary, almost demonic vocal sound. These all were happening while he was still in his clad in his priestly vestment, and not to mention that it was taking place within the Holy Mass.

I kind of admired that priest. Obviously, he exerted his level best to prepare for the homily. He also knew how to go down to the level of his audience. And of course, since the entire assembly was roaring when he showed himself incognito—there was, undeniably, a powerful stage presence!

I told myself "when I become a priest in the future, I'd do exactly what he did!" I held on to this promise until we discussed the entire chapter dedicated to catechetical methodology of the General Directory of Catechesis.

Form is important. Through it, we make something not only acceptable, but also, and more importantly, desirable. Fr. Vic compared the form to a platter on which a sumptuous dish is to be served. To make the food more palatable, the presentation of the dish counts as well.

Catechesis is not just an ordinary food that makes us alive. It helps bridge God to His children. It aims for the salvation of the soul. Therefore, it is an essential means so that its recipients will not only enjoy earthly life, but also attain life everlasting. Hence, it shouldn't be done any other way. The means in conveying the catechetical lessons should be carefully selected and cannot be indifferently subjected with regard to the Matter, that is, the content.

I realized that in presenting the truths of our faith, we are restricted to methods that will preserve the dignity of the message.

If this is true for the catechists, this has never been truer for a Salesian of Don Bosco who is chosen, formed, and sent to the young people to become a sign and bearer of God's love to the young (C2). Don Bosco, our founder, merely handed us some of his methods to give glory to God and save the souls. But at the bottom of things, it all boils down to how we live our life as a living method in order to bridge the Father to the young, and vice versa.

In the same fashion that a teacher is himself his best visual aid, I strive to make my life a fitting method in carrying out an effective catechesis.

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