It’s common knowledge that we can give only what we have. Yet many of us who minister in the Church forget that we cannot remain in service mode unless we sometimes “help ourselves” to some of the riches of the church. As catechists, we may lose sight of our own discipleship and forget that we are also followers of the Lord. But as disciples of Jesus, we have a responsibility to keep learning at his feet. As we learn from the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42), if we don’t take time out to sit at the feet of Jesus, we may find that our service becomes increasingly strained and unloving.
Here are a few things every catechist can do for spiritual refreshment and renewal.
Our Catholic tradition provides many ways to pray regularly. Try incorporating some of the following practices into your prayer life: daily Mass attendance, daily examen (prayerfully reviewing your day), reading and meditating on a verse of Scripture, praying the rosary, contemplating before the Blessed Sacrament, keeping the Liturgy of the Hours, singing or listening to religious music, and reciting traditional prayers or composing spontaneous ones. Just a few minutes a day can keep the lines of communication open between you and the One you serve.
Nourish your spiritual life through reading. Consider subscribing to a Catholic magazine, spiritual journal, or catechist's resource. Ask you catechetical leader to recommend inspirational books. Obtain a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read one paragraph a week, underlining ideas that impress you or jotting notes in the margin. Obtain a recent book of saints to refresh yourself on the classic saints and for an update on contemporary ones. Read other articles provided at this Web site.
Take a class or workshop.
Take advantage of opportunities in your diocese for formal training in areas such as Scripture, liturgy, theology, morality, catechesis, prayer, sacraments, or church history.
Take advantage of days of reflection at your parish or, if you can take the time, make a weekend retreat at a local retreat center. Find out where you can go to experience Taizé prayer in order to revive the spirit and calm the mind.
Whether it be at a prayer meeting, with a faith-sharing group, in a book club, at a coffee klatch, or even during a Saturday family activity, stay connected to nurturing and supportive relationships that nurture your faith.
Even in the midst of the desert, life blooms abundantly near sources of water. Stay close to the source of life in these habits of prayer, refreshment, and self-nourishment, and your work as catechist will bear fruit.