I am sharing my homework here. I have started taking classes through the Kino Catechetical Institute with the Phoenix Catholic Archdiocese. Some who read my blog have no faith in God, believe in Jesus but not the Catholic Church and some are fully involved Catholics. Whatever your background I hope that seeing my response to the homework causes some to think and seek God.
I am glad to be in this class. My 14-year old self would call the Catechism the third testament of the Bible. I would be wrong but in the neighborhood of being right.
Coming out of Protestantism where there was a constant duel with either/or paradigms one God’s election and man’s free will in soteriology, I find the approach in these paragraphs of the CCC to be altogether holistic to the mystery. But that is not to say that it is entirely a mystery.
I am becoming more reinforced in my belief that God has a footprint of his presence over the whole world where individual cultures will point back to him by the nuances of their cultural schemas.
In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being:
From one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him – though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “in him we live and move and have our being.” (Catechism of The Catholic Church, paragraph 28, 1994)
The search for the “Unknown God” is powerful in that there are signposts in our cultures that makes us thirst for purpose in the God who created us.
In several paragraphs in this assignment of 26-to 140 there are comments about natural law. Where I have a pre-existing question that I hope to have answered is: where the natural law’s ability to instruct end and divine grace through the Holy Spirit begin? And what is the heart of the Catholic Church in addressing the needs of those who have reaped the repercussions of disobeying natural law and instructing them on how to start again? Though the paragraphs of this assignment point to the philosophy of conversion being possible, they point to only the beginning.
But I see much humility in the Catholic Church about the chasm between truths that can be comprehended and appropriated seamlessly and those truths that are to be aprehended in mystery and prayed about continually.
God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God–“the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”–with our human representations. Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God (para.42, CCC).
Now as to the revelation of God’s will in Church that was also addressed; this is near and dear to my heart. In my young adulthood I was consumed as a zealous Protestant to be a part of my cult that supposedly got back to the restoring of what the early church really was and could be again based on our supposed insights given by God.
Years later I am even more deeply blown away by the “punk-hood” of my youth when I read the following.
The apostles entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum fidei),45 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. “By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful” (CCC, para. 84)
Reading this is a humbling blow to the restorationist man I used to be. The part on “the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” is a verse (Acts 2:42) that I used to think I had figured out. Now I read this and remember that my instructor points to the four sections of the Catechism of The Catholic Church and shows how they nail each of those line items of scripture. And the Church has nailed those essentials continually for two thousand years.
From my degree in the social sciences I would say there is no logical explanation that this institution would last for two thousand years against so much opposition and much less be able to guard the “Sacred deposit” so well. But it has. The oak tree looks different from the seed but the DNA is the same.
As I write this in my beginning of a two year journey in the Kino Catechetical Institute, and possibly seven if I go towards the diaconate ministry, I can do no less than cover my mouth and ask for God to teach me that I can proclaim his love.