Jude, part of the CTS team, made a New Year’s resolution: reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a year, accompanied by our new title A Year with the Catechism. In this series of blog posts, Jude – who blogs at The Reluctant Evangelist – shares her reflections on her journey through the Catechism. Stay tuned for new blog posts on A Year With the Catechism!
When I was a small child, I got separated from my parents while out shopping. For my parents, one moment they could see me and the next I was gone. It was an unimaginable nightmare. The shop seemed very big to me as a child, the places they could be were endless, and the lady wearing a blue coat, a bit like my mum’s, wasn’t actually my mum.
When we were finally reunited by the shop staff it couldn’t have been longer than five or ten minutes, but to my parents and to me it felt as though an eternity had gone by. Neither of us would forget that day and what happened, and needless to say I never wandered off from my parents again.
The desire to know God
For any parent, losing their child is one of their worst fears come true. Many parents will try to take precautions when going to busy places with their children, such as arranging in advance meeting places if anyone should get lost. As a child I was told that if I got lost, it was safe to approach a mother with children, or a shop assistant. Parents want their children armed with anything that will ensure they can find their way back to one another.
Likewise, as a loving Father, God wants his children to be able to find him. God created us out of love, and so he placed in us a desire for him, imprinting on our hearts a need for him alone. Nothing can fulfil that need except him.
For as long as there has been man, there has been religion and today we see across the world, in all different cultures and different languages, there is a form of religion, a belief in a god of some sort. This is because God wanted us to be able to find him and so we spend our lives searching for him, whether we know that he is what we are searching for or not.
Using our reason, we can discover God’s existence by looking at the world around us, at everything he created. When we see beauty in the world, for example, our reason tells us that it must come from a beautiful creator. Just as we may see a resemblance to our parents when looking at our features, so we can find a resemblance to God in his creation.
The gift of Revelation
Yet God’s desire was not just for us to know of his existence: he desired to have a relationship with us and so he gave us the capacity to find him. Our reason only stretches so far, however, thanks to the limits of our humanity and to original sin, which causes us to be tempted away from God. This is why God also planned from all eternity to give us his Revelation – handed down through all the ages in Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
Thanks to God’s Revelation, we can come to know God in a way that would not be possible – or at least, would be incredibly difficult – if we only had our reason at our disposal.
Thanks to his Revelation, we have the ability to have faith.
From the moment we were first created, God has loved us. God is such a dear Father to us that he desperately wants us to come to know him. He is not an absent father who never thinks of us after our creation; he has given us everything we need to find him. Not wanting to force himself upon us, he gave us the choice to love him or not. He hoped, however, that we would choose to do so and for that reason he gave each one of us a map that would lead back to him.
Just looking at everything he gave us to find him feels awe-inspiring: he gave us the capacity to know and love him; he made a world and creatures that would reveal his own beauty; he gave us a Revelation, knowing that human reason by itself would not be enough for many of us to find him; and he made mankind in his own image so that we could figure all of this out.
What loving parent would not do the same for their child if they could? Yet it is even more amazing because God is the all-powerful creator of the universe. It might be tempting to doubt that the Creator of the universe could love each one of us so tenderly, but the proof lies within our human reason, and within the gift of his Revelation. There has never been a greater love than God has for us.
Catechism of the Catholic Church reference: 26-43
Quote for your diary: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself.” (CCC 27)
A Year with the Catechism, The Catechism in 365 days. By Petroc Willey, Fr Dominic Scotto, Dr Donald Asci,& Elizabeth Siegel