Three Stages in the Catholic Life
“He then opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45)
All too often we skim over this verse. We don’t stop to take a look at it. Yet, it is an amazing verse. The Lord saw that it was of the utmost importance that the disciples understand Christ in the light of the scriptures, “Ignorance of scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (St. Jerome). So the Lord Himself will open their minds, He does not simply explain the scriptures but He opens their minds to them. Just before this He encountered them, He brought them peace. He stood in the midst of the disciples and said “Peace be with you!” They were alarmed by this sudden apparition. The Lord reproached them for having doubted. Then because they were filled with so much joy scripture says that they were dumbfounded. So, He ate with them so that they might be at peace. Then He explained the scriptures and opened their minds to them. They had come to understand that our Lord came in order to fulfil all the prophecies of the scriptures.
He then finishes by saying “So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that in His name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations.”
Thus there are three clear stages:
First, they come to a true faith in our Lord. Their faith is personal, it is real, it is not abstract or distant. We can call this stage, the process of Evangelisation (or Good-News-isation) in view of having faith.
Second, they deepen their understanding of what this means through the study of Divine Revelation. We can call this stage, the deepening of our faith (or Catechesis) and it is in view of becoming a true disciple, or someone who learns at the feet of God.
Third, they are sent out to the world to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all the nations. We can call this ‘engaging’ and it is the process where we become workers at the vineyard. This last step is essential, and yet it too is all too often neglected.
Jesus patiently walks them through each of these steps.
What stage are you at? It may be that you are at all three. Do you know scripture? Do you know the teachings of Fathers? Are you familiar with the teaching of the Popes and Bishops? Do you take advantage of what is already available? Do you reach out to others? Do you feel called but you don’t know how to reach out?
Our journey is a process which implies many steps. It is important that we continue to develop on this road to holiness