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Truths of the Catholic Church series

Adult Faith Formation

extracted from various writings of John Paul II

 

Adult Faith Formation is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings. The role of formation is precisely to educate people in the faith in such a way as to lead each individual Christian to live the sacraments as true sacraments of faith.

 

When we come together for our time in our Adult Faith Formation sessions, we meet at the parish. The parish is not principally a structure, a territory or a building, but rather the family of God’ and the home of fellowship.

 

As such, formation is never received alone, but with a lively sense of fellowship, together rejoicing in an equal dignity and common commitment to bring to fruition the immense treasure that each of us has inherited and in gaining strength and courage, from the Holy Spirit, as well as from each other. The good of each one and the good of the other becomes the good of all.

 

People are approached by God who calls everyone to grow. Formation aims at developing an understanding of the mystery of Christ in the light of the Gospel, so that the whole of a person's humanity is impregnated by that word.

 

Changed by the working of grace, the Christian sets himself to follow Christ and learns more and more within the Church to think like Him, to judge like Him, to act in conformity with His commandments, and to hope as He invites us to.

 

Our Formation gives new meaning to our natural life. Our supernatural life, is not the negation of our natural life, but is the purification and elevation of our natural life.

 

In discovering and living their proper vocation and mission, the lay faithful are formed according to the union which exists from their being members of the Church and citizens of human society. There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence. Formation would not be complete if it did not take into account the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social.

 

While the Truth which is Christ is never changing, the social doctrine of the Church is dynamic, that is, adapted to circumstances of time and place. This is why formation involves an explicit message, adapted to the different situations constantly being realized, about the rights and duties of every human being, about family life without which personal growth and development is hardly possible, about life in society, about international life, peace, justice and development.


St Robert Bellarmine (1542-1620)

 “For the nature of man is such that he is a social animal. Man is born without clothing, without a home, lacking all necessities. Since we are born unskilled, and the arts (skills) are learned by instruction rather than experience, it is necessary that we should live in society, and that one should aid the other.”

 “If human nature needs social life, certainly it also needs a rule and a ruler, for it is impossible for a multitude to hold together for any length of time unless there be one who governs it, and who is responsible for the common welfare. Where there is no governor, the people shall fall.”

 

“In a multitude of equals, there is no good reason why one (person) rather than another should dominate. Therefore, power belongs to the collective body of the people. It depends on the consent of the people to decide whether kings, or consuls, or other magistrates are to be established in authority over them.”

 

 “A king serves God in one way as a man, and in another as a political leader; as a man, he serves Him by living in fidelity to His law, and since he is also a political leader, he serves by promulgating just laws, and forbidding the opposite, and by giving them a fitting and strong sanction.”

 

Commentary

The Church avows that the two powers – Church and State – are distinct from one another and that each is supreme in its competency and yet, both share a common goal.

Regardless of its form, the duty of the State is to serve her people – which is the establishment of universal peace in truth, justice, charity and liberty.

 



 
 

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