Regarding the catechumenal stages, Origen, who sees in the Israelites’ crossing of the desert a figure of the life of the Christian, also sees symbolized there the catechumenal way from conversion to baptism, likened to the departure from Egypt: When you abandon the darkness of idolatry, because you aspire to arrive at a knowledge of the divine law, you begin to leave Egypt. Entrance to the catechumenate discipleship is seen in the crossing of the Red Sea: Poland Map When you are joined to the crowd of catechumens and have begun to observe the church’s commandments, you have crossed the Red Sea. Finally, baptism is symbolized by the crossing of the Jordan to enter the Promised Land, which is the kingdom of God: But when you arrive at the spiritual spring of baptism, then, having crossed the Jordan, you will enter into the Promised Land, that land where Jesus, after Moses, accepts you and becomes your guide in the new life In Jesu Nave, hom. 4,1. From his homilies we can gather other texts on the catechumenatediscipleship, articulated in three phases. In the first phase, the catechumen is called to abandon pagan life and other gods to love only our God In Ex. hom. 8,4: the catechumen is faced with a very specific demand ibid.. He is accompanied by believers, perhaps the godparents M. Dujarier, Le parrainage, 289-290. He is called to fear of God; only later is he admitted to community meetings, like athletes enrolled for a race In Jer. hom. 3,3. It seems that these initial instructions are the daily teachings of the community, of the kind held before work in the morning, without the Eucharist, at Caesarea In Gen. hom. 10,3 SC 7 bis, 262-264; In Jos. hom. 4,1 SC 71, 148; P. Nautin, Orig¨ne, Paris 1977, 391. To enter the catechumenatediscipleship and obey the ecclesiastical precepts is to cross the Red Sea and enter the desert, to listen to God’s law every day In Jesu Nave, hom. 4,1. He also explains the regula fidei Contra Celsum 1,7, following a practice different from that at Rome, since he speaks frequently to the catechumens In Luc. hom. 7. The daily instruction leads catechumens to a decision for a perfect life, a true discipleship In Jer. hom. 4,3: baptism will thus be fruitful. In the second phase, Origen notes a progress in the catechumens, while the guarantorssponsors of the baptism Origen mentions relatives, neighbors or friends, who test those who will later enter; godparents derived from this practice M. Dujarier, Parrainage, 218-236 offer their guaranteesassurances C. Cels. 3,51. In the third phase, the presbyter asks the spiritual fruits of penitence of those who want to receive baptism: charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness etc. In Lc. hom. 22. For the first time, moral catechesis nomos is offered, in which context Origen also makes pastoral remarks, e.g., regarding the nonprogress of catechumens In Ez. hom. 6,7, the return of many to sin after baptism: this is during the long period of peace after the persecution of Severus. He longs for the authenticity of faith typical of the 2nd c.: At that time the faithful were few, but truly faithful In Jer. hom. 4,3; M. Dujarier, Breve storia, 40.
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