Friday, 24 February 2012
The catechesis continued apace today. I had meetings with a young woman who wants to be confirmed and a young man who wished to learn how to use the breviary. In the last couple of days I've met a couple of young women who want to be baptised and I've learnt of two others who wish to be confirmed also. The key thing everybody wants is the truth, unsurprisingly. When I was a younger priest I relied a lot on handouts. I've noticed that I now engage more easily in free conversation. There has to be some advantage in becoming middle aged. The encounter of these students with a priest is not just an opportunity for me to communicate to them some teachings of the Church. It's a Providential moment, willed by God in eternity. On average I'll only ever see an enquiring student two or three times and I often don't know what happens to them subsequently. There are lots of better qualified and more articulate representatives of Catholicism whom they could be talking to. But at that particular moment there's just me and that other person. Soon, pressure of academic work or heartbreak may distract them from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Now - only ever now - is the moment to haul them in, confident that though the familiar deep with its darkness may still attract (all of us), it is the oxygen and the sunlight of new life in Christ that we truly crave. Sometimes you can sense the urgency, even as we drink Yorkshire Tea and eat chocolate biscuits.