This reflection started out as a reflection on Catechetical Sunday but wandered off into a reflection on the mind of Christ. I finally came full circle and thought of catechesis as helping someone put on the mind of Christ.
“Putting on the mind of Christ”
I stumbled upon Think Like Jesus: Understanding the Mind of Christ, an insightful and challenging reflection on Philippians 2:2-5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The following draws heavily from this rich reflection.
The Mind of Christ is an Attitude
The word Paul uses for “mind” means “attitude” or “thinking.” The Mind of Christ is not a mere creed, theory, or formula—it is an attitude! Almost half of all the instances where Paul talks about a believer’s attitude are found within the 104 verses of this gem of a letter.
The Mind of Christ is an Action
Paul strikingly chose the verb form of this word instead of the noun form. So Paul was not saying that the mind of Christ is a concept, but an action. Can you say you have the Mind of Christ if you do not live a life that reflects this attitude in action?
The Mind of Christ Affects Your Thinking
When Paul says “Let this mind be in you,” he is implying it requires a total change of mind (metanoia). In other words, do not attempt to gain spirituality by any other means than renewing your mind.
What is the “mind of Christ”?
“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, [being] of one mind.” Philippians 2:2
Note the three “ing” words that introduce each phrase: 1) “…having the same love,” 2) “…being of one accord,” 3) “… [being] of one mind.“
… having the same love,”
The word that Paul chose for the word “love” is the word that implies “total commitment.”
- Loving people for who they are, and
- Loving them on the days that it is difficult to do so.
… being of one accord,”
In Paul’s generation, the word accord was used to describe two individuals that were “soul-with-soul” with each other. Today, we see that level of intimacy in loving couples. They seem able to read each other’s emotions, thoughts, and feelings without ever saying a word.
How can this be? They spend time with each other, talk to each other, share their thoughts and feelings with each other.
… being of one mind,”
Working toward a common goal of life together in Christ.
Catechetical ministry is more than prepping students for the “Regents Review” of concepts they learned. It means prepping them to think and act like Christ.
The recently released Catechetical Directory spells it out…
80. “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ”. All evangelizing activity is understood as promoting communion with Jesus Christ…
81. Communion with Jesus Christ, by its own dynamic, leads the disciple to unite himself with everything with which Jesus Christ himself was profoundly united
Paul seems to advise us to take the time to get to know people outside of the time we simply meet for church or in class. We have to learn of the challenges friends are going through.
Thinking like Christ…
- How often do you think like Christ?
- What is your greatest challenge to thinking… and acting… like Christ?