Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
The RCIA Process
The Easter Vigil and the Ongoing Journey
--by Richard Bedard
The Mass often ends with the priest saying "Go forth to love and serve the Lord." And the people respond "Thanks be to God". This commissioning we receive at every mass has the same meaning Jesus gave to the Apostles after He had risen from the dead when He told them: :"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) another word for this is evangelizing the world. How do we do this? We do this mainly through the example and words of our daily lives and in the words of St. Francis: "If necessary, to use words". We are to tell our neighbors that we love them and show them that we love them in countless and varied ways.
For the Neophytes (a term used to refer to "new Catholics") and for the Assembly the journey doesn't end here at the Easter Vigil to be continued next Sunday. It is an ongoing, journey that we must live out in our daily lives. The RCIA Process, now begins the new phase called Mystagogy. Simply put, this merely means continuing education. This education consists mainly on further training in Discipleship.
No medical doctor who wishes to practice medicine competently and effectively stops learning after graduation from Med school with his crisp new doctor's license in hand. What confidence would patients have in a doctor who does not keep up with the latest information on all diseases, the newest medicines, trends, and skills in the medical profession and who never continues his studies in the medical field including those required of him? More importantly, how effective would he be?
The same applies to us if we are to be Christ's disciples. We must cultivate and have a daily personal prayer life and relationship with Christ. Prayer is the source of all ministry. It is why Jesus entered the desert for forty days to pray. We too must retreat daily to our own desert and recognize in that emptiness that we are nothing without a relationship with Him who is Love itself. Who loved us into being. In tandem with this we must also acquire a continuing knowledge and train our souls in the Faith . Mostly no one does this for us. We must seek it out on our own. We must thus be ready to give an account of the Joy that is within us. Our goal is to become daily more Christ-like, to grow in our love relationship with our Creator and to learn all we can on how to serve Him. This is why it is called the ongoing journey. And at every Mass, we are fed the Word of God and with Christ Himself present in the Eucharist.
The same thing that happens to our bodies when we do not feed them or take care of them happens to our soul. They slowly die. There is a wholeness or oneness if you will that exists between the body and the soul which we must not ignore.
May God bless us all on our Journey back to Him!
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