ON BECOMING CATHOLIC – Re:-
Becoming Catholic is a lengthy process but it certainly is a rewarding one. Once you become Catholic you can step out into the world and live your life according to the Church’s teachings.
For every Christian, the life of Faith is a journey. It is a continued response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to make the next step towards a closer relationship with Jesus and through Him with the Father. We seldom travel alone, but make our progress with the Spirit of God within us and in the company of others who offer their example, encouragement and inspiration.
Those who feel called by God to embrace the Faith as adults, there is the process designed called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – R.C.I.A. This process/journey is a gradual one, marked by Rites or Liturgical Services as Faith and Conviction deepen.
It is a Spiritual Journey in which the person seeking conversion is supported by the love and Prayer of the Church Community. Catholics are always part of a Spiritual Family called “Church.” The Church is a mother who feeds Spiritually, shares doctrines, heals and comforts, and disciplines when needed.
Knowing the Faith is the first step to being Catholic, and it entails Catechesis, the process of discovering the Catholic Faith and what is to be believed and finding out all the important doctrines. The Catholic believer must trust that what’s being taught is (indeed) the truth. Catholic Education classes R.C.I.A teaches the history of the church, the beliefs and values of the Catholic Church, how to live as a Christian developing one’s interior life and the proper order of Celebration of the Mass. Attending classes also involve receiving anointing, participation in prayers and becoming involved with the Community at large.
The R.C.I.A journey, has several distinct stages. These Catholic R.C.I.A stages are a good model of Faith development itself.
The stages are Inquiry, Catechumenate, Purification, Enlightenment and preparation, Initiation and Mystagogy. Faith will be the foundation of One’s Life. R.C.I.A makes that foundation solid.
Nearing the end of preparation there are three public celebrations. The Rite of Acceptance, The Rite of Election – The call to continuing Conversion at the beginning of Lent. When the forty (40) days are up at the Easter Vigil there is Baptism, Confirmation and reception of Hoy Eucharist.
After the Easter Vigil, a truly memorable beautiful experience – one is now a proud, valued member of the Catholic Church. One must make sure to go to Mass regularly and get into the habit of going to confession on a regular basis. On entering the Church one begins the period of Mystagogy – a life-long process of becoming closer to God and delving deep into the Catholic Beliefs – also becoming more deeply rooted in the local Catholic Community. For the first year of their life as Catholic Christians, those who have been received are known as Neophytes.
Becoming Catholic is one of life’s most profound and joyous experiences. The Mass and the Eucharist are the “Source and Summit” of the Christian Life in the Catholic Church, and this helps one understand, appreciate and live more deeply, this centre of Catholicism.
“You will show me the Path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness forever.” Psalm 15:11