In the Acts of the Apostles, we find the intriguing story of an Ethiopian, minister of the Queen of Candace, who had traveled to Jerusalem to adore the true God. However, this high functionary of the court returned to his country full of uncertainties with respect to the Scriptures, which he meditated on without grasping their true meaning. As he traveled in his carriage, reading the book of the Prophet Isaiah, he paused at this part: “Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people” (Is 53:7-8).
The same Holy Spirit who had inspired his desire to understand the good news about Jesus Christ, also prepared a marvelous response to his questions: He sent Deacon Philip to instruct him in the faith, urging him to approach the carriage. Here, we have the description from the Acts themselves: “Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone instructs me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him” (Acts 8:30-31).
Then, Philip explained the truth about Jesus Christ, and his words opened the soul of the man to the faith so effectively, that he requested baptism at that very moment. After fulfilling his mission, the Holy Spirit transported Philip to evangelize in the city of Azotus, while “the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).
This episode of the early Church shows how God works. He inspires souls, so that some instruct others; consequently, hearts are moved toward the realization of the divine plan. This habitual manner of divine actuation explains the indispensable necessity that the Church has in the preaching of catechesis.
There are those who profess the direct actuation of the Holy Spirit in souls, regardless of doctrinal teaching. Of course, this could happen – and in fact sometimes does, as we read in the lives of saints – but these kinds of extraordinary methods do not abolish the normal ones, which may certainly not be compared, even casually, with other ‘methods’ that are gravely contrary to the Christian religion. As such, it is advantageous that we profoundly study this theme, finding the responses we need in the magisterial doctrine.
Enter in the various parts of our study
II – Pastors cannot forego catechesis, confiding that the faithful will learn of the mysteries of the faith by themselves
III – Catecheses may not be compared to Yoga or Zen, which are in reality practices contrary to religion
IV – The essential objective of catechesis is the transmission of the mystery of Christ. Its importance in the Church cannot be underestimated