Mystagogia is a strange word that is gradually returning to the Christian vocabulary. (it means '€œgoing deeper into the mysteries'€ '€“ that is, into the truths of the faith).Mystagogia described the ancient custom of spending the first week of Easter with the newly baptised, helping them experience the depths of the truths they had accepted in their Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

RCIA Candidates, that is adults who were baptised or fully received into the Church at Easter time go through this process. Over many weeks and months leading up to Easter, through the reflection on the Word of God and prayer, these people grow in faith and in a personal relationship with Jesus.

Recently, I celebrated Mass for our RCIA group in Geraldton and their families. We talked about the fact that their journey of faith is ongoing. They realised that their appreciation of Jesus and the riches he as given us in the Church are things which will continue to grow throughout the course of their lives.

Great painters and great musicians can study the principles of art and music, but the beauty they produce doesn'€™t come from being able to recite principles. Artists have to take these principles inside themselves, and also be taken by them, so that the principles live in ways that no one could put into words.

Well-prepared seven-year-olds who receive first Eucharist have much, much more to learn about what they are receiving. One would hope that the growth would last a lifetime.

The Easter season is a time of '€œmystagogia'€ for everyone '€“ new Christians and old Christians. The season has just concluded with our recent feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is a special time of celebrating the great gift of the Holy Spirit who is our Helper and Guide for life. This is why the Church'€™s liturgical year is so wonderful. Each year we celebrate the same mysteries and feasts of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. Each year though we are offered the grace of going more deeply into those mysteries.

The God-life given as a gift by Christ has inexhaustible and enjoyable implications.

Bp Justin Bianchini
May 2004