Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream: Unleashing Charisms for Catechesis

This morning I woke up laughing. Yes, really. I had just had the wildest most off-the-wall dream about catechesis.

I dreamed I was teaching my Confirmation class at my parish, and my classroom aide was none other than Andy Warhol. (He WAS Catholic, by the way - and a regular daily Mass attendee.)  He was very quiet and did not do more than observe through most of the session. At one point in the lesson, I turned to him and asked if he had anything to add to what I had just said to the teens, and he simply pulled out heavy paper and art supplies and began to create a small painting, explaining how it related to the faith concept at hand as he went. He quickly finished the work, which fascinated the kids (and me!).  Then, as class was getting over, I asked if I could have what he had just made.  He seemed surprised, and possibly mildly annoyed, but he quickly signed the little artistic gem, and somehow it miraculously ended up in a frame. Then everyone else disappeared. I wanted to go show my DRE what I had, but somehow that was when it got weird, as most dreams do... I had to get to where she was by climbing out a window and navigating several slanted roofs, but other catechists were there to help... and then I woke up!

What if some of the quiet people in our lives have amazing gifts?  What if those gifts were unleashed and used for catechesis in our parishes?  Amazing things might happen!

I can't help but think that somehow thoughts about our diocesan day on Thursday with Keith Strohm of the Catherine of Siena Institute discussing how parishes can use Forming Intentional Disciples and the Called and Gifted   process of discernment of charisms, is somehow tangled up in what happened in my head early this morning.

Andy Warhol obviously had a charism for teaching - through art - but to look at him, you would not have suspected such depth. What Warhol "taught" was the significance of ordinary things. He turned soup cans, cars, bananas and more into art. Although he never really said it, he showed the inherent value and sacramentality of everyday life, which is a very Catholic outlook. Although he never used his gift for the good of the Church, he could have.

How many people in our pews are "hiding" their gifts - or not sharing them with their faith community?  What if the charisms in our parishes were unleashed for catechesis?  That's a possibility I can't help but think would produced amazing results in forming young intentional disciples. Who in your community is a potential creative catechist?  What would it take to help them discover that Christ is calling them to use their gifts in his Church? Do we have the courage to find out? Now THAT's a dream!

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