As we near the midpoint of our catechetical year, we can begin to feel dragged out and even a little intimidated as catechists. We’ve come so far since the fall, and there is so much left to do. We can get so caught up in parish life that we feel overwhelmed and lose our focus on what moves us and inspires our ministry. We can forget that all of the activities, planning, and preparing we do is part of a larger story.
This sense of story is a core part of our faith and of what we do as catechists. We are living in the midst of our Father’s narrative, his plan for salvation, and we are introducing (or, in some cases, re-introducing) others to this story and the unique role God has for them within it. This is apparent in the very layout of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is founded on four “pillars”: the Creed, which summarizes the story of our faith; the sacraments; life in Christ; and prayer.
As essential as Bible stories are to knowing and teaching the faith, how often do we think about them and share these stories with others? We may pray these stories using lectio divina; we hear these stories at Mass; and we may even encounter them through the skits and activities in our classrooms. While all of these various encounters with the Word are wonderful, there is no getting around the fact that the single best way to come to know the stories of our faith is to read them.
One practice that can be extremely helpful in our ministry is to read the stories of our faith on a yearly basis. This can be done very simply by reading an entire book of the Bible throughout the year. Good candidates include Genesis, Exodus. Joshua, Judges, First and Second Samuel, or First and Second Kings. You may also want to read through one of the four Gospels or the Acts of the Apostles. This doesn’t require vast amounts of time; reading just four chapters a day would take a mere 15–20 minutes and get you through these narrative books in as little as 90 days!
Re-engaging our life and imagination with the characters and events of the grand narrative of God’s “plan of sheer goodness” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1) can become an inspiring, faith-filled addition to our spiritual life and a valuable help in remembering where we have come from, what we are doing, and where we are all headed.