I've long known that my role in catechesis is to plant seeds and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. After all, my own conversion was long and varied (and continues as does my vocational discernment!). The reality is, though, that where the seeds go, I don't know.
I don't know if I'm planting the right seeds at the right times, providing the proper nourishment that belongs to my role, and I don't even know what SEASON it is for planting. All I can do is pass on what's in my hands when someone asks for it.
There are many people I know who are involved in religious education and who frequently quote someone (the name of the personage escapes me) in saying (or some variation):
"God is the Manager. I'm in Sales."
Certainly that's true, for the biggest role of someone involved in passing on the Catholic Faith is SELLING the Gospel, the theology, and the whole package, to all souls. Sure, it's delivered in bits and pieces and it's assembled with the assistance of the salesperson, but the analogy is correct: evangelization is greatly a sales position.
For me, though, the "Sales" analogy doesn't work.
People in Sales can "sell" their product. They can show them something amazing and make them BELIEVE it, and in their delivery of this wonderful thing, they prove themselves as wonderful and gifted motivational evangelists.
I've come to realize, though, that I'm not a sales person. I can't even motivate myself to get out of bed in the morning! (That's why I have dogs!)
I am an Incompetent Gardener.
I have a bunch of seeds, I'm scattering them where and when it seems appropriate, and I'm hoping for the best. Unfortunately I will never see the results, because these seeds are not annuals, they are not perennials, but rather they gestate for YEARS before they finally begin to bloom, and then it's someone else's job to encourage them to grow. Unless, of course, I happen to trip on the tender bloom in my typical klutziness, and that usually means I need to pass the bruised reed in question on to someone else (like Jesus through the Sacred Ministry of the Priesthood) to be restored to full potential. If the damaged bloom is amenable, that is.
Besides, if I trip on the bloom it's just because a more competent gardener has managed to plant the seed in the right place in the right soil, and, well, the Holy Spirit has done His work.
That's what it comes down to, really.
Our roles don't matter. We are ALL, through Baptism, required to pass on the Faith throughout the world. We all contain the seeds that need to be spread, and all are called to do so in different ways. Some are white-collar Sales people, others of us are lowly blue-collar Gardeners (both are found among the clergy and laity, active and contemplative religious alike) and we work together to bring life out of the impossibility of the soil we find at our very feet.
My job IS to provide the seeds (information) to others so that the love of the Holy Spirit may take root and carry them from darkness into light, from nothingness into fullness, from death into life NONE of us can possibly imagine!
If I only plant the right seeds at the right time in the right way...there will be fruit. Eventually. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, who really doesn't NEED me to do anything at all. It's a privilege to be able to "help."
It is freeing to be a lowly incompetent gardener...may I, through God's Grace, always be so.