I have never dealt with catechesis in the strict sense but I verify that there is a difference between learning theoretical notions about God and cultivating a love relationship with God. I therefore wonder if there is nothing to add in the way of transmitting to young people the Christian faith.
Recently a state primary school teacher told me about an episode that made me think. The teacher is a good Catholic but the direction of the school and the general environment forbid him to give children elements of Christian formation. For example, on a school trip, he is not allowed to have children pray prayers when they go to bed. Some time ago, during an excursion, he heard a little hustle and bustle in the evening in the girls' room. The next day he asked one of them what had happened the previous evening and the little girl more or less replied:with some friends we wanted to recite the evening prayers but there was no Crucifix, so I remembered that my father (a Filipino) at the time of the departure he slipped a rosary crown in my backpack carrying a small Crucifix attached. So we put the crown on the ground and we all knelt around and recited the prayers."
It is a small episode which however makes us understand the importance of having a living relationship with God in one's heart, which can compensate for the absence of an external reference such as the Crucifix. I do not hold back on the silly and pretentious motivation not to hurt the sensitivity of others with tangible signs of Christian devotion. It is nonsense that speaks for itself. Instead I would like to underline the importance of the formation of the heart to the relationship with God, as was the case with that child. Undoubtedly it is useful to know the catechism and many of us remember those short formulas of the Catechism of Saint Pius X that remain in the memory and give clarity: but it is not enough simply to know those formulas. Even demons know the Christian doctrine surprisingly as exorcists report. The important thing is that Jesus is a friend, that the Holy Spirit is in my heart and that I realize that God is Father and that he is truly omnipotent.
The real catechism
It didn't touch me to have a religious formation since childhood, except for the moment of First Communion. Only at school did I have a tender devotion to the Madonna represented by a beautiful painting placed next to the altar in the chapel of the institute. But I see, in the little children of my Christian friends, how children's devotion flourishes and how creative it is. As is known, expressions often come out of children that leave us stunned. For example, a friend of mine's son, when he was six or seven, said: "I get it! God always seems to lose but then always wins". A summary of theology of history.
For me, being contemplative means living with children's sensitivity to the things of God. It is not I who invent it: Jesus repeats so many times in the Gospels that the Kingdom of Heaven is for those who become like a child. Therefore when doing catechism it is necessary to tell stories that touch the heart, to show how beautiful it is to pray and resort to Providence in all circumstances. They are seeds that perhaps will remain hidden for years but that at a certain moment will bloom and bear fruit.
For me, that scene of the little girls praying in a circle in front of the rosary crown is touching and makes me better understand how I stand before the Divinity.