Wednesday, March 16, 2005


After our RCIA class joins the church at Easter and we have our first communion, we neophytes (Catholic newbies) enter a period called "Mystagogia" in the seven weeks between Easter, when Christ was/is resurrected, and Pentacost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out for the Apostles. Our class will continue to meet on Mondays, but many of the sessions will be open to all members of our congregation. We'll discuss the Mass again with a Straw Mass, where the priest talks everyone through each step, and the reason for each step, and each area, of the Mass. We'll discuss the history of the Christian Church. We'll have a session about priests and Holy Orders. In general, we will focus on what it means to live a Christian/Catholic life.

I've not been very successful in investigatign the Greek term "mystagogia." I read that it is borrowed from "the language of the mysteries," where it means "the introduction of the uninitiated to the knowledge and the effective celebration of the mysteries." The one who leads the person through mystagogia, the mystagoge, is like a tour guide, one who knows the territory and helps the neophytes move around in this new space. I've not heard Greek called "The language of Mysteries" before, but neither have I found much information on any "Language of the Mysteries" beyond a lot of pagan mystery religions. I'll have to ask.

I read this piece, "Mystagogia: A Time of Growth" in the National Catholic Reporter.
Following the example set by the early church, many contemporary congregations welcome newly baptized believers during the Easter Vigil. In these weeks after Easter, both initiates and veteran believers are invited to enter into a period of mystagogia and thereby to be renewed in the dignity and challenge of Christian baptism. To that end, we must join with those who first heard Peter’s proclamation of the good news in asking, “What are we to do?”, and in accepting his call to reform our lives and to keep from going astray from the path of discipleship.

Personally, I had in mind that period when Paul first met Jesus, was struck blind and had to be led to Damascus where Ananias restored his sight and led him through his Christian initiation. That's kind of backwards, though.

Update: First Mystagogia Session.

Update: Second Mystagogia Session.

Update: Third Mystagogia Session.

Update: Forth Mystagogia Session.

Update: Fifth and final Mystagogia Session.

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