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Catechism Project, #18-25 {+}

It was our first year in the Catholic Church, I say ‘in’, I had quit my job as a Protestant minister because having spent over a year exploring the Catholicism I could no longer teach Protestant theology in good conscience and declaring that conflict of interest I quit, trusting God to care for our family as we plunged into the Tiber River.

It was our first year in, we were not Catholic yet but we were attending Mass and a special bishop approved version of RCIA that focused only on the Sacraments, sacramentals, the Saints and specifically Catholic teaching and devotions.

It was our first year in, before we were Received and Confirmed when one of our RCIA sponsors who shared the journey with us remarked one day that I must miss the focus on the bible and all the scripture we used to have in our Protestant services. I was temporarily dumbstruck. I had a lot to learn, not just about the Faith but about the faithful, many of whom knew less about their Faith than we newcomers did. Sure, I get how that can sound prideful and it might be if it weren’t just such a bald fact.

I asked Ted, we will call him Ted, Ted, can you hand me that missalette? Uh huh.

We began to look at it, the Eucharistic Prayers, the responses said by the people, the Readings and Responsorial Psalms. As we glanced over them I was hoping he was catching my drift. He wasn’t. I ask him, Ted, where do you think these phrases from the Prayers come from? His answer was a question, The Church? Yes but the primary source is sacred scripture, the b-i-b-l-e. And the Readings too?, he asked. He was catching on. All of them, I assured him came either verbatim or with slight modifications for the sake of the Liturgy from sacred scripture. I can tell you Ted, I said, taken together in just one Mass, that’s far more bible than I ever heard, read or saw in a single Protestant Sunday service in my experience; three decades worth .

So, how is it that a cradle Catholic, a faithful mass attending cradle Catholic now in his late 50s could have missed that and could have been stumped to reply to his Protestant friends and relatives when they challenged him about the lack of bible in the Mass. If you are waiting for me to answer that, I can’t other than perhaps poor homilies and bad to nil catechesis and no use of the CCC, which is chock-a-block full of bible? But my answer is a question.

The texts of Sacred Scripture are often not quoted word for word but are merely indicated by a reference (cf.). For a deeper understanding of such passages, the reader should refer to the Scriptural texts themselves. Such Biblical references are a valuable working-tool in catechesis. [CCC#19]

(cf. 19 Roman Catechism, Preface 10; cf. 1 Cor 13:8.)

The balance for this lack is not condensation* condescension but love, love as the Catechism says is “the love that never ends”, love that want’s to lead all the Teds and Owens into the full embrace of Christ’s matchless love. That is the goal of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 Above all – Charity

To conclude this Prologue, it is fitting to recall this pastoral principle stated by the Roman Catechism:

The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.19 [CCC#25]

For the Catechism Project, this is your Artist + Illustrator + Occasional Catechist, owenswain of owenswain.com/blawg

*Thanks to my friend judyferg for catching my error and suggesting I meant condemnation when I wrote condensation. I actually meant  condescension but there is no question I was certainly all wet.


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