Another Greek word which refers to the last step of the formation of adults received at the Easter. This step actually never ends. There is a formal period of digging deeper up to a year after initiation, but the period of mystagogia is what we‚Äôre all called to live the rest of our lives. Mystagogia means to open up the experiences of the formation process, to unfold the meaning of the initiation sacraments, to discover the core of the rituals‚Äô images, as well as “education in the mysteries.”
Baptism and Confirmation are given only once. But they open the pilgrimage that is always beginning. Mystagogia continues the adventure that can renew itself every time we open our hearts in a new relationship, experience or endure a change in life. The ‚ÄúChristian mysteries‚Äù which we live in celebrating the Sacraments are mystery not because of the celebration‚Äôs moment, but what it is to live the moment the rest of our lives. More than ‚Äúin-formation‚Äù received in a teacher-student relationship; the newly initiated is to see in the catechist a representative of the community walking with the candidate/catechumen ‚Äì we teach each other to walk in order to find our way. There is no ‚Äúone‚Äù way! The way is renewed in each of us as ministers of God‚Äôs grace to others.
If you were part of the Easter Vigil celebration or the adult Confirmation on last weekend, you may have noticed the adults just initiated were invited to join me at the altar to administer the Body and Blood of Christ. Installed Eucharistic Ministers accompanied each of them to mentor them in the distribution. Such is the manner in which we form each other in the way of Christ.
Sr. Bertha mentioned that someone challenged my ‚Äúability‚Äù to permit the newly Baptized/Confirmed to distribute the Eucharist? Permit what? The ‚Äúmystery‚Äù into which we have formed them is to be ministers of faith, from call and election into action. The newly Baptized and Confirmed have become full members and participants in the life of the Church. By inviting them into the work of God they come to feed and invigorate as Christ did with the disciples in the upper room, as well with the feeding of the three and five thousand. We mentor the newest brothers and sisters to know tangibly what their new role is. They are no longer passive recipients of instruction, but are commissioned to be coworkers in the vineyard of Christ.
Such is the power of what is broken open in the time of Mystagogia. The mystery we open with them is not dry and heady doctrine, but accompanying one another to know the difference between passivity and action. Do you participate in a ministry, a parish group or lead in a formation process in the parish? Call on the neophytes. Invite them into what you do. Walk with them and invite them to know the aspect of Christ which you live.