Marian Catechist Formation
Our founder Father John Anthony Hardon, S.J. was fond of saying that, in this extraordinary time in Salvation History, ordinary Catholics will not survive. Only heroic Catholics, men and women willing to share the Cross of Christ, will survive to share in His Resurrection to eternal life.
The primary mission of the Marian Catechist Apostolate is to form and nurture heroic Catholics, Catholics who are absolutely faithful to the Magisterium and whose spiritual life is the foundation of all their catechetical efforts. Marian Catechists have a deep love for Christ, distinguished by several pivotal characteristics:
- A great love and reverence for the Holy Eucharist.
- A strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
- An unswerving loyalty to the Holy Father as Successor of Saint Peter in the office of Roman Pontiff.
- Ongoing spiritual formation, which draws us ever closer to Christ, so that we might draw others closer to Him.
- An ever-growing knowledge of the Catholic Faith through diligent and careful study of Church doctrine.
- Working in the apostolate of catechesis, handing on to others the gift of Christ’s truth and love which are revealed in the Catholic Faith.
Father Hardon insisted that the surest preparation for catechists is the development of a vibrant spiritual life. He understood that the witness of our lives is even more important than our words, and that we cannot begin to offer the Faith to others unless our lives attest to the powerful beauty and richness of the Truths that we are trying to convey. The formation of the Marian Catechist, therefore, consists of both doctrinal and spiritual elements.
Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses (Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi 41).
Spiritual Tips from Father John Hardon
As a catechist, and therefore teacher of the Faith to others, you should have a deep understanding of the Faith yourself. There is no better way of growing in your grasp of the Faith than by meditating on the Apostles’ Creed.
- Focus on one article of the Creed for each month of the year, from January through December. Repeat the process each year. During the month of January, for example, prayerfully meditate on the meaning of the First Article. Ask Our Lord daily for the grace to better appreciate what it means to declare, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth.”
- Each day, if only for a few minutes, read a passage or two from the Bible which tells about God’s power in creating the world and keeping it in existence (e..g., Job 38, 39), or about the majesty of God revealed in the works of Creation (e.g., Psalm 8). Memorize short verses from Sacred Scripture which address God as Creator and Lord. The Psalms are filled with such acts of adoration.
- Form the habit of frequently thanking God, if only in a word, for His countless gifts and blessings.
- Make acts of humility during the day, recalling and reflecting on the fact that, except for God, we would not exist. For example, simply pray, "My Lord, You are everything, and I am nothing."
- Several times a day, slowly and prayerfully recite the Glory Be to the Father..
- When you make the Sign of the Cross, think of what you are saying – that you are making an act of faith in the Holy Trinity.
- Daily recite a short prayer to your Guardian Angel.
- Daily recite the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.
- Cultivate the habit of often using the name Jesus in silent prayer. When you get up in the morning and retire at night, invoke His Holy Name. And during the day, learn to associate whatever you are doing with a moment’s prayerful aspiration, pronouncing the word, Jesus. If you do this, you will not only grow in your belief that Jesus is indeed God Who become Man; you will experience the spiritual power that is available to those who call upon Him in faith.