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excerpts of secret instructions from the founder Kiko Arguello . . .

Directions for running Introductory Catechesis sessions

(translation, punctuation and emphasis are from the English typescript for N-C catechists)

The progress and the development of people is in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit. This is a completely different line from social action, so fashionable now, which tries to develop man before speaking to him about Jesus Christ and the Gospel. As though Jesus Christ were not true man, or as if the Holy Spirit and His grace wouldn't act upon humanity...

I tell you all this so that you can see that God has given this Way to the poor. Carmen and I have been only instruments, because God works through actual persons. All the Scriptures are full of personal names because the history of salvation is carried our through actual people. So your history is carried out through actual persons like myself, Carmen, the brothers of your community. The Holy Spirit doesn't float in the clouds...

- First Day, page 5


I want to say something important to safeguard the unity of the Catechumenal Way. God, whether we like it or not, even if some one might call me presumptuous - is acting through a series of persons to whom He is giving charismas and services, in this Way.

- First Day, page 7


... the door to the Kingdom is very small; only the children and those who make themselves like children can pass through it. THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMES WITH US.

- First Day, page 10


Jesus is passing by and may be He will never pass again. Take this opportunity now and cry out to Him now that He is passing - Jesus will stop. Jesus is passing: WITH US JESUS IS COMING. And who does Jesus cure? THOSE WHO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE BLIND. JESUS IS PASSING BECAUSE HE IS COMING WITH US. But maybe you don't believe that the one that is passing is Jesus, because you don't believe that an imbecile like me can bring Jesus.

What is necessary in this Catechumenate? TO PRAY. What happens is that we don't know how to pray. Do you have big problems that Jesus Christ has not solved? Then go out into the street because Jesus has nothing for you. If Jesus Christ has not solved your problems do you know why? Because you have not asked Him. And do you know why you have not asked Him? Because you don't believe. It is very simple. YOU DON'T BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS THE POWER TO FREE YOU OR SOLVE ANYTHING FOR YOU. You must ask.

I assure you that if you had faith enough to stay a whole night asking "Jesus have pity on me", really believing that Jesus has the power to cure you, that same night you would be cured of whatever it may be, healed from any vice. But what happens? That we think that praying is to say "Our Father...or to be in front of the tabernacle while our imagination wanders off elsewhere.

- First Day, page 12


Do you know why God doesn't help you? Because you don't pray to Him. Do you know what happens if God helps you without you asking Him to do so? That you believe then, that it was you who did it. For this reason, He cannot do anything without you asking Him to do so. Otherwise you steal His glory. And no one can steal God's glory. If you give God's glory to yourself you immediately become a Pharisee, because you judge everyone.

- First Day, page 13


What is the Catechumenate? A time in which mud will be thrown in your eyes. It is Jesus Christ who does this. Because you do not know that you are blind. You don't know that you are dirty and for this you don't want to wash. Jesus will cover your eyes with mud so that you will feel uncomfortable and have to go to wash in the waters of Baptism, to cleanse yourself of your sins.

- First Day, page 14


... those who no longer go to Church, those who have left the Church, do not have faith ...

Here arises the question of the signs of faith. We must find a presence of Christ wherein faith is not necessary, where a man who is a pagan, an atheist, a desacralized man, a technical or pragmatic man, who does not have faith in Jesus Christ and who no longer comes to Church, by seeing this presence, this sign may come to know Jesus Christ.

- Second Day, page 3


What are these signs? There are two kinds of signs: one is that of physical miracles.

At the gates of the Temple there is a paralytic, begging for alms. St. Peter looks him in the eye and says to him: "In the name of Jesus crucified, I say to you: get up and walk."

This miracle is a sign which gives power to the word of the apostle. On seeing this the people are astonished and they see that Jesus has the power to make a paralytic get up and walk and they believe in the preaching.

- Second Day, page 4


You too are paralysed by your sins. St. Peter says it and I'm saying it to you: in the name of Jesus, get up and walk. And if you believe in my preaching you can invoke the name of Jesus and get up out of your paralysis, not through your power, nor because of your merits, but through the power and merits of Jesus Christ. But Jesus can do nothing for those who do not believe in Him. As the Gospel says: Jesus went to Nazareth but the people laughed at Him and He couldn't perform miracles because they didn't believe. So if there is someone here who does not believe in Jesus, Jesus can do nothing for him.

- Second Day, pages 4-5


So you see how physical miracles help to give power to the word of the apostle and made it possible for the people listening to His preaching to have faith.

But then you can say: Hey, man! So now we know what's wrong with the Church today: there are not any miracles, that's why things are going so badly. But hang on a minute. If we read the Acts of the Apostles we shall discover something very important: that miracles occur very rarely, and in definite moments to give credibility to the word of the apostle.

I can give you a personal experience of mine with regard to this. When at Vingone (near Florence) we saw that the people did not accept our preaching, we began to think that we needed God to make us work miracles. There was a paralyzed man and we were ready to say to him, "In the name of Jesus Christ I say to you: get up and walk." so that all these people may be confused, since they don't believe in our preaching. And we would have done this because Christ said: "Go and heal the sick." Jesus gave the apostles the power to heal the sick. But the physical miracle wasn't necessary because, thanks be to God, a small group of those listening to us believed in our preaching. And through this small group of old ladies today in Florence there are communities in 5 important parishes of the city.

- Second Day, page 5


Physical miracles are not a sign of God's mercy toward an individual, but they are signs which support preaching. Because we run the risk of thinking that the important thing is that a man without legs should have them. Because since we all have legs it seems horrible to us to be without them. But that does not give you happiness. Thus miracles happen in very small doses and with great care.

- Second Day, page 6


... there are a lot of people who no longer come to Church. And we must think of them, because the Church cannot be stopped, she must see how to call back these brothers who have gone away. Thus, these catecheses are not Lenten lectures, but something much more serious: we are about to form in the parish a Christian community that may be a sign. This community will end up by changing the pastoral work and the structure of the parish.

- Second Day, page 9


... if one of you is giving a sign against the community, let him know that he is destroying the Church. And everyone realizes this and says, "Ah! I already know these communities ... I know one of them - what an awful person." For this reason, in the primitive Church when someone gave scandal he was sent out of the community and he had to withdraw, because all the brothers felt themselves publicly judged on the basis of what that brother did.

- Second Day, page 10


Thus we arrive to a new type of parish, an atomical parish, made up of small Christian communities all in a way of conversion, on a Catechumenal Way, reliving the Baptism in a Christian community. Don't think that this is utopian. Even if you have very poor communities and you don't see it yet, believe that this is true, because we shall arrive at this. The signs of faith are much more powerful than you can imagine.

It is clear that you cannot invent the signs of faith. Either they exist, or else they don't. Thus, in many of your communities, it may be that there is Jesus Christ, or maybe not. This doesn't happen only because you give catecheses; it happens if it happens. Jesus Christ is where there is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Who knows this? The Apostle. The primitive Church knew this very well. It is not you who know if you are Christian, if you are still in the Catechumenate. Perhaps what you think to be signs of Jesus Christ are only a sign of your honesty, of your human qualities, which a Marxist can give as well or better than you. Moreover, during the Catechumenate, you cannot give the signs of an adult faith. It is the apostle, the catechist, the one who leads you in the Catechumenate: it is he who must watch over the Way, as an elder brother, given that it is supposed that the Bishop has recognized him in this charisma, to bring you to the faith. Without doubt this brother is the one who knows.

- Second Day, page 11


So we ask God for this Spirit. We shall sing the hymn of Pentecost, because this Spirit has already come to the earth, because the Kingdom of God is near us, because it is getting nearer with this Catechumenal Way.

- Fifteenth Day, page 6