75.2 may be the broadest of the four ways, as it covers the communal dimension of faith formation. By definition, this covers liturgy, catechesis, and the life of charity. But there are some important principles which we can tease out of the text:
2. As they become familiar with the Christian way of life and are helped by the example and support of sponsors, godparents, and the entire Christian community, the catechumens learn(:)
- to turn more readily to God in prayer,
- to bear witness to the faith, in all things to keep their hopes set on Christ,
- to follow supernatural inspiration in their deeds,
- and to practice love of neighbor, even at cost of self-renunciation.
Let’s keep reading, this time from a substantial quote from the Vatican II Decree on Missionary Activity:
Thus formed, “the newly converted set out on a spiritual journey. Already sharing through faith in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, they pass from the old to a new nature made perfect in Christ. Since this transition brings with it a progressive change of outlook and conduct, it should become manifest by means of its social consequences and it should develop gradually during the period of the catechumenate. Since the Lord in whom they believe is a sign of contradiction, the newly converted often experience divisions and separations, but they also taste the joy that God gives without measure.” (Ad Gentes 13)
The Church anticipates catechumens will derive their example from the laity, not necessarily the clergy, for the spiritual life. If catechesis is entrusted to priests, deacons, and catechists, 75.2 is where sponsors or godparents find their chief responsibility. Those four aspects, prayer, bearing witness, inspiration for acts, and love of neighbor, should be engraved in a plaque and given to every sponsor or godparent. And since adults learn by example, it should be obvious that godparents are surfaced and discerned in a parish because they already exemplify these four qualities.
The quote from Ad Gentes 13 is excellent. The catechumenate is a spiritual journey. And because we are social beings, part of that journey will indeed be revealed in how catechumens interact with family, old friends, new friends, and the various groups of the parish.
Any commentary of your own?