Our examination of Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us continues as we move into Part II Qualities of Mature Adult Faith and Discipleship. This description of “qualities” is only 19 paragraphs long, but it provides some foundation for the detailed plans later in the document. Citing John 15:8, we begin with the words of the Lord at the Last Supper:
“By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
Paragraph 45 cites the Catechism to lay out the essence of the Good News: God has made us to share in his divine life; Faith is a gift that facilitates this; Human beings respond to this call by conversion, personal reform, and the reception of grace. What is the Christian distinction? Simply that the believer accepts the role of disciple of Jesus. We center our lives on him, open ourselves to the communities that gather to know him, and we imitate his example in our own lives (46). With the help of God, the Christian realizes her or his “immeasurable potential,” bearing fruit in our efforts toward holiness, community, and service to God (47). The bishops recognize this always as a work in progress. It might begin in youth, even childhood. Especially admired is the witness of people who have “persevered in following the Lord over the full course of a lifetime: ‘They shall bear fruit even in old age, always vigorous and sturdy,’ (Psalm 92:15).” (48)
For the rest of Part II, we will adopt the description from the General Directory for Catechesis. We will explore the adjectives, “a living, explicit, and fruitful confession of faith,” cited in the GDC 82 and the Vatican II document Christus Dominus 14. How do these qualities apply to adult formation today? That’s for the next three posts.