EG 166: Mystagogia

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneMystagogia in Evangelii Gaudium. What is that? Why does Pope Francis mention it?

166. Another aspect of catechesis which has developed in recent decades is mystagogic initiation.[Cf. Propositio 38] This basically has to do with two things: a progressive experience of formation involving the entire community and a renewed appreciation of the liturgical signs of Christian initiation. Many manuals and programs have not yet taken sufficiently into account the need for a mystagogical renewal, one which would assume very different forms based on each educational community’s discernment. Catechesis is a proclamation of the word and is always centered on that word, yet it also demands a suitable environment and an attractive presentation, the use of eloquent symbols, insertion into a broader growth process and the integration of every dimension of the person within a communal journey of hearing and response.

In sum, mystagogia presumes two things: ongoing formation, plus the utilization of the liturgy for this ongoing formation in a mature baptismal spirituality.

How does this work? What does it mean? Pope Francis suggests the “educational community” must be in discernment over this. So what does that mean? Homilists, catechists, and liturgy leaders discussing and praying over the needs of a community and how the “team” can work together to present the ideals of ongoing conversion: maybe this is one model suitable to a collaborative modern parish.

This is a good section for liturgy people, too. A checkpoint: are our symbols eloquent? In other words, do they speak to the basic proclamation of the Gospel, or are they mere decoration?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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