Prior to Adult Faith Formation, One Thing Is Necessary | R. Thomas Richard, PhD | Homiletic & Pastoral Review
I stress a simple but essential prerequisite (for adult formation), without which all the formal education in the faith will remain merely on the surface of the person.
In this article, I hope to stress a simple but essential prerequisite to that needed formation. Without this one thing, all the formal education in the faith will remain merely on the surface of the person. Is that so bad? Yes, it is. God sees the heart, and wants to pour his life and his love and his truth into human minds and hearts. God seeks to gather human persons—mind, will, body—into blessed communion with him.
Yes, God sees the heart. In this world, humans cannot see into the heart of another, but they can often sense, or intuit, whether the Christian witness of a Catholic is authentic or not. In this world, humanity, who are still of this world, recognize a “salesman.” They know intuitively about the “hired man;” they understand the duplicity that is so common in the “City of Man.” If imitated in the Church, such duplicity does not generate the radical transformation that Christ was sent to effect by the cross. Worldly humanity can sense the presence, or absence, of authentic, supernatural love—indeed, it is by such love that “all men will know that you are my disciples” (Jn 13:35). Humans in this world can hide, as Adam and Eve hid from God in their sin. They can hide from the Gospel behind a cynicism begotten by duplicity! But their hiding places are penetrated by the supernatural love that gives without limit—that gives whatever is necessary—the love that imitates God’s love.There is “one thing” that is necessary (i.e., Lk 10:38-42).
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