Last month (now two months ago, going on three, since I keep forgetting to actually post this), Dale posted about some differences between cradle Catholics and Converts. This has had me thinking about my experiences growing up, my catechesis, and my faith.
My catechesis, to put it bluntly, was awful. I don’t blame the Church…not really…although it’s partially at fault. How much can they do in 1-2 hours per week for 12-24 weeks? I don’t blame my parents…they had a completely different experience growing up…although they’re also partially at fault. Compared to the Catholic school education they got, with Religion (meaning “Catholic Religion”) classes daily PLUS nuns or priests in most of the other classrooms, how could my public school education plus 2 hours a week come close? I don’t blame myself…not completely…although I definitely could have applied myself much more diligently.
In short, the blame lies everywhere and nowhere. And, you know what? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is what I do now.
Having come to the realization that, while I’m “Catholic”, I don’t really know what it means to be “Catholic”, I’ve been working on filling in the gaps in my education. Various things that my parents knew when they were 10 are new to me. Common “old” prayers (like the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel) are unknown, even unheard of until recently. Traditional definitions of Catholic beliefs (think “Baltimore Catechism”) are similarly unknown. What do Catholics believe? Why? I can’t answer these questions nearly as well as my parents can, or many converts can.
I could lament over the fact, rail against the hand I’ve been dealt…or I can fix the shortcomings I find in my learning, regardless of the cause.
To that end, I’ve started really learning about my faith. Reading books, reading blogs, learning the “old school” Baltimore Catechism (as well as that can be self-taught). I need to know my faith if I’m going to live it and pass it on to my children.
And that’s important to me, now that I have a bunch of kids. I want to be able to answer their questions, and answer them correctly. I don’t want them to think “Why do I have to learn this? Dad didn’t.”
So I guess I should get cracking.