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Catechesis Together with Adoration

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Marian and Ignatian Catechists Bulletin
No. 1   Lent 1993

In his Apostolic Exhortation, Catechesi Tradendae, Pope John Paul II says some very pertinent things about "Catechesis and Sacraments". What he says deserves to be quoted in full. It hits the nail on the head, by relating two factors in the Church's apostolate that should not be separated, namely sacramental devotion and sound doctrinal instruction.

Even as the practice of Eucharistic Adoration is promoted, it must be combined with adequate catechesis on the meaning of the Holy Eucharist as the Sacrifice of the Mass, Holy communion, and the Real Presence.

Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings.

In the early Church, the catechumenate and the preparation for the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist were the same thing. Although in the countries that have been Christian the Church has changed her practice in this field, the catechumenate has never been abolished; on the contrary, it is experiencing a renewal in those countries and is abundantly practiced in the young missionary Churches. In any case, catechesis always has reference to the sacraments. On the one hand, the catechesis that prepares for the sacraments is an eminent kind and every form of catechesis necessarily leads to the sacraments of faith. On the other hand, authentic practice of the sacraments is bound to have a catechetical aspect. In other words, sacramental life is impoverished and very soon turns into hollow ritualism if it is not based on serious knowledge of the meaning of the sacraments, and catechesis becomes intellectualized if it fails to come alive in the sacramental practice.

This adds a whole Eucharistic Adoration enterprise. Properly coordinated this will also have salutary consequences not only for the practice of Eucharistic Adoration. It will place all the sacraments into their true Catholic perspective, where faith in the intellect will nourish not only piety but all moral virtues of the Christian life.

Copyright © 2003 Inter Mirifica

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