May my exploration of faith be a blessing to others.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Exploring Catholicism via the Catechism

Here I am with my lion writing this blog!
So, being very nerdy and always wanting to learn more stuff, I have decided to take an intellectual approach to exploring Catholicism more deeply. I have decided to read the entire Catechism (which reminds me that, although I have read the entire King James Version of the Bible several times, I have not yet read the whole Catholic one; new and exciting books in there for me.) And, of course, I thought my blog readers might like to come along on this new journey.

I'm using 2nd Edition -- revised in accordance with the official Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II.  I did learn to read middle English when studying the Canterbury Tales, I have decided to forego Latin lessons and just be content with this English translation. You can find free copies of the Catechism online and in e-book formats.

I also discovered a television series on our local Catholic channel that is studying the Catechism. It is now scheduled on my DVR. This should also help provide some insights.

I/we shall go through this in small chunks. After all, there are 2,856 statements, sections, paragraphs? I guess I will need to know what the subsections of the articles are called!

As the song says, let's start at the very beginning...

In his Apostolic Letter in the front of the book Pope (now Saint) John Paul II wrote: "...the extraordinary interest that the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non–Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life. At the same time it draws attention to the eager desire of all to make their contribution so that the Christian faith, whose essential and necessary elements are summarized in the Catechism, can be presented to the people of our day in the most suitable way possible."

I certainly would like to know what the Church "professes, celebrates, lives, and prays." The Pope's letter goes on to reiterate and confirm the importance of making these doctrines of faith clear for the people of today. He says this text will provide us with help to communicate (via the Holy Spirit) to be able "to link the wondrous unity of the Christian mystery with the varied needs and conditions of those to whom this message is addressed--which is really everyone; he addresses the letter to the "People of God."

Just as today's Pope Francis emphasizes the need for evangelization, John Paul also wrote that an "extraordinary commitment to evangelization is urgently needed so that everyone can know and receive the Gospel message." He goes further to expound that this is an "outstanding gift" through which we are able to "rediscover the inexhaustible riches of the faith." In his first post-conclave publication, Pope Francis calls it the "joy of the gospel." That is how I like to understand my faith; at the root of it is joy and peace. But not joy in the strictest definition as state of extreme pleasure, delight or elation. For me, a closer relationship with God transcends even this. Throughout history, people of faith have found such joy even in the midst of great misery, pain, tribulation, violence. This kind of joy, for me, is summed up by the lyrics of that great hymn:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Through this study, I pray that I can develop that level of faith, which is joy, which is love, which is peace.

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