by Joannie Watson | June 9, 2017 12:04 am
In my last post, I was little strong about the need for a well-formed laity. It’s no secret that we have suffered for years from a lack of solid catechesis in most communities and the effects only increase – exponentially—as the years pass. Much ink has been spilled on what we can do as a Church to remedy the problem. We have to pray for the wisdom and the fortitude to make the changes in our schools, parishes, and homes. It is easy to lament the situation in our world or Church today. But the solution begins in our own minds and hearts. We can seek out good books and good friendships and begin to cultivate the well-formed laity right in our own homes and families.
Working in adult formation for almost ten years, I have seen the gamut of faith education in our pews today. I’ve met many people who have an incredible knowledge of the faith. It may be surprising, but most of these people do not have initials behind their names. Their education doesn’t come from advanced degree programs or even fantastic religious education programs when they were children. Their knowledge comes from their own reading, searching, and praying.
I know I am preaching to the choir. By reading Integrated Catholic Life, you are seeking formation for yourself, and this is key. In a world with knowledge at our fingertips, there is no excuse for neglecting our Catholic education. Catholic websites and following Catholic organizations and individuals on Facebook and Twitter help to infuse our daily intake of information with good religious formation.
Beyond the internet and social media, though, we have to return to the printed word. Wondering where to start? Below are four books that I think are a good place to begin your formation. Obviously, there are many, many more books that I could recommend, but I chose these four as starting points.
As I mentioned before, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The beauty of the Catholic Faith is that the mysteries of God are inexhaustible, and saints (and sinners) have been writing about those mysteries for thousands of years. As a result, there is always something more to learn, no matter if you’re just starting or you have your doctorate in theology. And regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, there’s something for you to learn in the four books above. You may have four different books you’d put on this list. The most important thing is that we continue our education and formation, always seeking out authors and speakers we can trust. It’s up to us to answer that call of John Henry Newman:
“I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold, and what they do not, who know their creed so well, that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity… In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit… You ought to be able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean it” (J.H. Newman, The Present Position of Catholics in England).
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