Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Meditation on Catechism

Lately, I've been reading the Catechism. It's been one of those "I should do this but" activities that I have so many of, but someone made a gift to me of the hard copy, and tucking it into my backpack seemed to be all I needed to do to make a habit of it.

I originally set out to annotate the entire thing, but that's a tall order and the sort of thing you should really only do if you're making a professional study of the document. So far, however, what I've read isn't what I expected. I can read some pretty dry stuff, and I'm fluent in about eighteen different dialects of legalese, which is more or less what I was expecting. This document is a standard, a sort of deposit of faith in its own right, that is supposed to lay out all there is to lay out about the Christian faith. And it is, but what I was expecting was a rather long list of the "thou shalls" and "thou shall nots". I was expecting, for some reason, to have my faith challenged a bit as I am made to consider that I don't always put God first. And it was. But the read so far has also been edifying. I want to share a few graphs I found to be particularly so.

154 Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to "yield by faith the full submission of... intellect and will to God who reveals", and to share in an interior communion with him.

159 Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth." "Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are."

Finally, to anyone considering taking up bible study as a serious hobby or as a legitimate form of spiritual growth, at the very least, read the Second Article of the first Part, Section, and Chapter of the Catechism, entitled Sacred Scripture. It's like an owner's manual.

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