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"It is here that I am in Fertile Soil." My Inspirational First Year of Religious Education.

My first year in Religious Education has been a period of great joy. There are many good things I can take out of my first year of religious education. I must say that I have shared fellowship with every person.

Their unique life experiences became part of my life. There are moments at meetings where one can feel the Holy Spirit among us. From our prayers and meditation, I gather strength and growing faith. The Spirit us through our questions and understanding of the answers. l am seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies, and our class has enhanced my academic study. Being part of this cohort gives me that sense of personal belonging that is missing from my college courses. However, my religious studies courses complement both my Sunday school teaching and our religious education class by giving me Biblical knowledge. Our class gives me understanding of faith, complementing Sunday School and religious studies. So teaching catechism, attending religious education and taking religious studies courses are important in my life. I have the delightful dilemma of each activity complementing the other.

The personal testimony by one of our classmates of being taken by a deaf-mute boy to the Altar of Christ and the feeling of a warm hug of a departed love one can only bear truth to the living God; whom I have now come to love and cherish even more. Indeed, I have come to understand, as the Apostle Paul declares, that just as the body is one and has many members, and all the membe1s, though many, are one body (1 Cor. 12:12). So it is also with our relationship with Jesus Christ; for in one Spirit we are all Baptized into One Body. "we were all made to drink of one spirit". (1 Cor. 12:13)

When we come together to understand the Word of God, we become in Spirit, one Body. Our group is truly one Body in Christ. The Spirit is working on us and through us, so that slowly, but surely, Revelation will come to us. In the Words of the Lord, "Whenever two or more of you are gathered in my name, I am among you. "

I am struck by the freedom of structure in our class. We cover our material, yet we are allowed to explore our faith beyond what is strictly being taught. We are not amongst the weeds, but on good solid ground. We are free to grow in our new found knowledge. The Holy Spirit allows us to open ourselves up to traditional ideas and to understand it as if it were revealed to us for the first time.

To see and know Mary, the Mother of Christ and our Church in this way has helped me to become born again in the Spirit; which never deserts me. I feel that by coming into fellowship with my larger Spiritual family, has nurtured within me a greater faith which has begun to bloom. It is here that I am in fertile soil. My spiritual growth has commenced.

l believe we have come together to find and/or strengthen our faith. For those of us who teach and those of us who simply wish to pass on the Good News of Jesus Christ, our first year of religious education has been a victory. We have been blessed with a caring, patient and thoughtful facilitator who, with the help of the Holy Spirit, has guided us in the right direction on our faith journey. Thank you, Catherine (Hanrahan), for everything.

My goal continues to be to learn more, from the Church, our Bible, and our Class. I know the following years of Religious Education will be terrific years. Yes, I truly have had an inspirational first year. There are many good things I can take out of my Good Year. Faith! Fellowship! Freedom! Guidance! The Holy Spirit!

FORWARD IN THE SPIRIT (song: verse 2)

Forward in the Spirit: Now for many years, we have sought God's wisdom,

we have known our fears.

Walking with each other on a path that's sure, God will gently lead us, love forever endure.

This Post was originally presented as my First Year Assessment for the Adult Faith Formation Program (1993-1997) of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish Published on March 1st, 1993 (Revised May 31st, 2023)

© Dr. Charles Warner 2023

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