“Bringing a Sense of the Sacred to Catechetics” was the topic of Dr. Timothy O’Donnell’s lecture which he presented to catechists at an in-service day held at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Oakton, Virginia on March 30.
In speaking to the sixty catechists, Dr. O’Donnell began his talk by explaining that, over the many years, from Pope Leo XIII to Pope John Paul II, the Church has consistently taught that one of the greatest evils affecting society is the evil of secularism, that is, the indifference to religion and to religious matters.
“We have at the present time, an entire generation starving to death; starving for the Truth of the Catholic Faith,” he said. “How do we maintain or bring a sense of the sacred to the teaching of catechetics? The crisis of secularism in the Church is truly a crisis of faith! Teaching the faith must be approached with two key elements. First, a deep and a profound sense of gratitude. Secondly, united to this gratitude must be a sincere humility. This sense of gratitude and sincere humility can be seen in the lives of some of the great minds of the Church, most especially in the lives of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. These two indispensable virtues must spring forth from the bedrock of an integral Catholic faith. The obedience of faith demands a complete submission of the mind and will to God who reveals Himself through His Church. This faith introduces man to Revelation,” he told the audience.
O’Donnell then focused on issues particular to catechists. “The entire catechetical enterprise depends upon the possession of divine Catholic faith. This faith is the very key to understanding. It almost appears that there is a denial today that the faith is related to the truth. Many teach and act as if the faith is not true.” He continued, “Secularism has led to a crisis of faith in the Church. It has led some to an excessive rationalism which distorts the Faith. In teaching the faith, we must be men and women of prayer, men and women of humility, men and women of gratitude. We must try to maintain the sense of mystery and return the sense of the sacred to the teaching of the Faith. If you want to touch your students, there is only one road; to return to the habit of mental prayer. In nurturing this sense of prayer, gratitude, and humility, a catechist thereby becomes a true man or woman of the Church in loving, full communion with the thought, the sentiments, and the life of the Church.”
At the conclusion of the presentation, Dr. O’Donnell signed copies of his two books, “The Heart of the Redeemer” (Ignatius Press) and “Swords Around the Cross: The Nine Years War” (Christendom Press).