“Who teaches us to love? Only the Holy Spirit”

Filed in Catholic by on January 25, 2015 1 Comment


I was slightly curious when the Holy Father recently lumped together “catechetical courses” with “courses in yoga, Zen and all these things” and said none of these would lead us to true freedom of the child of God.

You can take a million catechetical courses, a million courses in spirituality, a million courses in yoga, Zen and all these things. But all of this will never be able to give you the freedom” of being a child of God.

What was he getting at?

I think the clue lies in some of the other lines…

“Who teaches us to love? Who frees us from this hardness [of heart]?” he asked. “Only the Holy Spirit.”

and also this…

Only the Holy Spirit can “move the heart” and make it “docile to the Lord, docile to the freedom of love”

There is a great lesson for us here as catechists! Doctrinal orthodoxy in our catechetical courses is not enough! Not unless we catechise with the power of the Holy Spirit, recognising him as the master Catechist, the interior Teacher. It reminds me of the great need for docility to the Holy Spirit as catechists. Yes, we must plan and structure. But we must also accustom ourselves to the quiet and gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit, to teach under his guidance, and not under our own insights.

I have realised for a long time that orthodox doctrinal programmes are not enough to make people disciples of Jesus Christ. More is needed.

We recently decided to include extended times of Adoration, including an opportunity for our catechumens to be prayed with, during our Catechumenate. I feel we need as many opportunities as possible, creating conditions to enable them to open their hearts to the Holy Spirit.

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About the Author ()

Hannah Vaughan-Spruce is an experienced catechist and youth worker, who now works for the Diocese of Portsmouth. Some of her Jericho Tree articles were first posted at her personal catechetical blog Transformed in Christ. They are used here with permission. See http://www.transformedinchrist.com/

Comments (1)

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  1. mags says:

    whether we are secular or faithful an absolute part of what we all feel is an energy, a force which we have named love. An integral feeling that most of us (whether or not we are conscious of it) are born deeply ‘knowing’ because we experienced that deeply ingrained ‘knowing’ to a greater or lesser degree in its purist form, either pre or at the point of conception, in our mothers body, through the umbilical cord, after birth when caressed to the breast, and when being tenderly held and nurtured in our parents/carer’s arms.

    This is not a privilege given only to the privileged. This is the universal law of nature, that regardless of culture or social standing we are blessed with a deeper imprint of love, (than we are maybe conscious of) and it is because of this imprint of love that we nurture and love others. It is so deeply ingrained that we don’t even have to be the mother, the instinct to emanate comes from the warm glow left by the impression made by the origins of this love.

    The origin of this love (from which we recognise and ‘know’ the imprint through our creation), is Love. Throughout our lifetime we experience and recognise glimpses of this knowing, in its many dilute and different strengths. Sometimes when we give in loving kindness, sometimes when we attempt to express love to one another, and sometimes with even stronger feelings.

    I believe that Love, in its absolute Truth and in deepest faith is our beginning and end. In the evidence of my life I have experienced this Love to be eternal. In death, especially the death of my father, Love is as strong as ever, not only inside of me, but outside of me and beyond me, it did not end with his death. It has other dimensions, of which a beautiful part was tangible. The origin of the love, however secular or immature or inferior is never diminished from what it is, because regardless of everything, love comes from beyond us, within us, and through us. Things end. Life ends, and that what is not born of Love falls away. Love if it is True has no end. In Jesus, Love personified reveals this.

    I believe that if we allow those moments of profound awakening in Love ~ to be shared ~ sharing each others witness, stories & wonder in intimate prayerful gathering ~ and then together turn to God ~ who is Love and Spirit ~ in worship & thanks giving for these precious moments in our lives ~ and likewise share in love where there is sorrow ~ then being a child of God becomes not about any doing (courses etc) ~ but rather about being, which is what I understand Papa’s words to mean.

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