Christian Initiation

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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mcb
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Post by mcb » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:41 am

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:Btw, Martin, I'm interested in your choice of avatar. As you are not anonymous, is that what you really look like? :)


Well, modesty forbids... but actually yes.

(I think we should get back to Christian Initiation quick before we all get moderated.)

M.

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Fri Feb 06, 2004 4:16 pm

musicus wrote:Yes, thanks Dot. I thought it was rude... :oops:


If there's a potential for rudeness in the Liturgy, then it's that Sunday when the call of Elisha is proclaimed. I adopt an air of attentive listening and serenity. I mask mild panic. Will the young man reading get it right? Or will he confuse the term for a juvenile, bovine, male quadruped with that of a demotic bisyllable meaning either "It's a load of rubbish!" or that wherein a human gamete develops. It has happened! :oops:

Anyone wanting to know what mcb looks like can click his www link BTW.

Now what about this profession of faith as a young adult? Or if you want another long word - is it appropriate, pastorally, for a young adult - of their own free will - to make both a personal and ecclesial commitment to Christ after they have received - at age 6,7,8,9....whenever - the sacramental, eschatological seal of their Baptism?

And if First Communion and Confirmation are being seen as Rites of Passage - which they aren't - might it be appropriate to celebrate Rites of Passage in the Church in some way? How would you suggest?

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Benevenio
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profession of faith

Post by Benevenio » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:38 pm

presbyter wrote:Might it be appropriate to celebrate Rites of Passage in the Church in some way?

06 Feb 04. Split this off as a separate thread to be found here.
presbyter wrote:Now what about this profession of faith as a young adult? Is it appropriate, pastorally, for a young adult - of their own free will - to make both a personal and ecclesial commitment to Christ after they have received the sacramental, eschatological seal of their Baptism?

A sacrament is God's work. So it doesn't need anything from us in order to work... or does it? If Mary, having been called to carry the Christ, had said, "no, thanks!" could God have gone ahead and made her pregnant anyway? Probably not. God the Father needed the co-operation, not because he couldn't "just do it", but because humankind, having caused the fall needed willingly to partake in the restoration.

So, the sacramental part needs nothing more in order to work, except our saying yes - and continuing to say yes.

However. If the Church only baptised adults, then there would be that element of a public statement of faith within the community of faith (personal commitment in ecclesia) at the Easter Vigil. In inducting infants and children who do not truly understand Eucharist or Confirmation (and, let's face it, even aged 40+ some of us still struggle with these!), we deny them the opportunity to make that declaration, that statement of witness. And when we hit the teenage years and want to make our mark in the world, then this might be a good time to make that kind of public announcement. I say might for, with 3, almost 4, teenagers myself, I hear how black and white all issues seem to them and how idealistic their responses are to quite complex ideas. So a public witness of the form "I'm Marigold, and I believe..." might just be an opportunity to air preformed ideals in public. Even within the 'safety' of the formulaic ritual of Liturgy (and there are those who merely say the right words, using the right action, hocus pocus, in the belief that this is effective liturgy), personally I doubt how effective, or appropriate, such a public commitment should be.

The most effective public statement of witness that I can make (and I know that this is not the case for everyone) is my love for my children, showing them in practical terms (rather than theoretical or academic, abstract terms) the face of Christ; bringing them with me to support the Church at prayer, actively, consciously, fully; partaking in my ministry so that they can see and start to understand what Church is - not going to a building, but meeting as a people. As to how effective that strategy is... well, at 17, the eldest is still coming willingly... ask me again after he's left home, and needs to stand up and be counted when his student peers are sleeping off hangovers on a Sunday morning! That will be his moment for 'personal and ecclesial commitment to Christ'. Not some enforced now-you've-reached-this-age-you-must-do-this Church service...

Perhaps the way I see the most effective statement of personal commitment is less in the raging storm of a stand-up witness and more in the gentle breeze of a constant loving support, day in, day out. Of course, there are some days when that commitment is stronger than others... but at least there is an ideal to strive towards!

So - back to the question. No, I don't think that it would be an effective thing to do. What is the purpose - to get the teenagers to stay in Church? It won't work. The only strategy that will is by showing them by example how powerful the Christian love we have for one another is... and that leads us back to the idea that we, as Church, need to learn more to love and support one another We are what we eat, the body of Christ. Let's start truly to believe it and to show it!
Benevenio.

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presbyter
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Re: profession of faith

Post by presbyter » Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:47 pm

Benevenio wrote:personally I doubt how effective, or appropriate, such a public commitment should be.


Interesting thoughts there Benevenio. I suppose I'm the only person in the forum so far who has been required to make a public, adult declaration of faith in the form of a solemn oath. I recollect that that took a lot of soul searching for weeks beforehand but, on a personal level, it was a very worthwhile exercise. (It's no guarantee that I won't hear a cockerel crowing and then will need to go into a corner and cry though)

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Tsume Tsuyu
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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Sat Feb 07, 2004 1:46 am

Benevenio wrote:And when we hit the teenage years and want to make our mark in the world, then this might be a good time to make that kind of public announcement.

I tend to agree with Benevenio that the teenage years are not necessarily the best time for such a public announcement. So much of what teenagers do and say is influenced by their peers, their idols, and even their parents! But I do think that a profession of faith, for those of us who are 'born' Catholics, is a good idea when we feel ready for it. In my case. I would only have been ready for this in the last few years (and here I must face up to the fact that I am no longer a 'young adult'!). There was a turning point in my life but, up to that point, I think I'd just been going through the motions and so any statement would have been made because I thought it was the proper thing to do.

Benevenio wrote:Perhaps the way I see the most effective statement of personal commitment is less in the raging storm of a stand-up witness and more in the gentle breeze of a constant loving support, day in, day out.

On the other hand, for those of us who have the opportunity, this is a beautiful way to profess our faith. Perhaps it doesn't need a fanfare and public endorsement at all. After all, if we live our lives in love and service, we are professing our faith daily, aren't we?

Presbyter wrote:I suppose I'm the only person in the forum so far who has been required to make a public, adult declaration of faith in the form of a solemn oath. I recollect that that took a lot of soul searching for weeks beforehand but, on a personal level, it was a very worthwhile exercise.

Then again, actually focusing on what we believe, doing the soul searching that Presbyter talks of and making a conscious decision to make a public declaration of faith must bring one to a heightened awareness of what it means to be what we eat, the Body of Christ.

Did I mention that I was indecisive?

TT

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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Sat Feb 07, 2004 9:19 am

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:Presbyter talks of and making a conscious decision to make a public declaration of faith....


Errrrr - I think I'd better say I was 38 at the time - :roll:

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