Jude, part of our CTS Customer Services Team, made a New Year’s resolution: reading the Catechism in a year, accompanied by our new title A Year with the Catechism. She puts into writing her reflections on the journey. Catch up with the first article, Needing More Than ‘Because I Said So’ and stay tuned for the next blog posts of A Year with the Catechism!
I have lived in many worlds. I have been a rebellious citizen in a dystopian future; I have been an ordinary child who found out they were a wizard; I have been a 19th century young woman who fell in love with a man who seemed initially proud and haughty; I have been a hobbit unexpectedly thrown into a quest to defeat a dark lord. Reading is my passion; there is not much that satisfies me more than curling up in a chair with a book.
A quest for the truth
This year I’m reading something a little different. I’m reading something that is taking me on a journey not through the realms of fantasy and imagination, but on a journey that will take me through the past two thousand years and beyond. I’m reading a book that tells of something far more beautiful than any fictional romance, and far more adventurous than any mythical quest.
This year I’m reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, accompanied by CTS’ A Year with the Catechism. I’m on a quest not to conquer a dark lord but to discover God, through the beauty and wonder of his Church and her teaching.
My quest is still in its early days, but already I’ve been humbled by the amount of consideration that has gone into everything from the front cover to the very structure of the Catechism. The truth that strikes me is how important it is that we are made in the image of God and therefore that we can only come to understand ourselves by first understanding God.
This is how the Catechism is presented, so as to reveal God first, before giving us knowledge of Him, and only then showing us how we fit into all of this, how we can understand ourselves in the light of this revelation.
The Catechism deepens my faith
There is such richness to be discovered in the Catechism and what surprises me is that it is possible to read it cover to cover. Until now, I admit that I have never considered the Catechism as more than something to dip into when I need to be assured of the Church’s teaching on a particular issue. Yet now I see that the entire truth of what I believe as a Catholic is presented here, and not just for me to refer to now and again, but as a solid foundation for my faith. It not only informs but it is also a powerful tool to deepen my faith.
Part of that journey of deepening my faith includes being put back in touch with the “living sources” of our faith (cf. Laetamur Magnopere), namely Scripture, the Church Fathers, the liturgy and the Church’s Magisterium. Not only am I presented with the Truth, but I am introduced to the sources of the truth. The numbers in the margin, the footnotes, the index – they are all there to help us discover the wellspring of Catholic doctrine (see CCC 11). Our faith is, after all, not something old and dead but alive and vibrant.
A truth to be passed on
As a passionate (albeit initially reluctant) evangelist, I have never considered the Catechism as a tool for evangelisation. Yet John Paul II’s hope was that it would serve, through catechesis, as an aid to evangelisation; indeed, as he rightly pointed out, “an extraordinary commitment to evangelisation is urgently needed” (LM). By teaching me in no uncertain terms what the Church believes, it assists me in being “ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, cf. FD).
This is the initial beauty and joy that one discovers in beginning the Catechism – that we have been given a great gift, handed down by two saints: St John XXIII, who called for the Second Vatican Council, which inspired the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and St John Paul II who initiated the Catechism. These saints ensured that the truth was available at our fingertips, and it is our responsibility now to see to it that this truth is understood and passed on.
Catechism of the Catholic Church reference: 1-25
Quote for your diary: “Everything is to be adapted to charity” (CCC 25)
A Year with the Catechism, The Catechism in 365 days. By Petroc Willey, Fr Dominic Scotto, Dr Donald Asci,& Elizabeth Siegel