≡ Menu

Catechism Project, #26-30

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure.  And man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud.  Despite everything, man, though but a small part of your creation, wants to praise you.  You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

In this penultimate plea that I think finds resonance in the heart of everyone who has come to believe in God, CCC #30 quotes what is perhaps the most famous line St. Augustine ever wrote.  As someone who spent twenty-some years in the wilderness bouncing from one unsatisfying concept to another I have a profound appreciation for what Augustine was talking about here.  For me it was something like a never-ending string of Goldilocks experiments – this one too frivolous, this one too severe, that one too thin, this one too intellectual, and then suddenly a spiritual Calgon moment that when you accept it becomes a lifelong journey deeper into that perfect answer.

But if Christianity was so blindingly obvious to me once I actually tried it, why is it not so to others?  The Catechism gives a range of reasons, and some of them are a little painful to admit:

…revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of feer and flee his call. (CCC #29)

“[T]he scandal of bad example on the part of believers”.  I don’t think a single one of us doesn’t cringe a bit at the realization that our actions at one time or another may have been the cause of someone else turning away from the faith.  It’s hard to read a story about the Church on most major websites today where there isn’t at least one acrid comment from someone saying the actions of another drove them from the Church.  So many today have such a tenuous connection with their faith life that it is incumbent upon us to be aware of ourselves perhaps even moreso than in ages past.  That is not to say that we ought to walk about fearful of upsetting someone but rather that we must consistently remember our call is to be saints not just “pretty good” guys and gals.

Even if we fail in this, and I know at least I will fail far more often than I’d like to consider, we must simultaneously take comfort in knowing that we are not the only, or even the primary, reason someone will come to seek Christ and His Church.  “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)  Let us, then, seek to be co-workers with God in drawing all to Him; if we do our part we can rest confident in the knowledge that God is already doing His.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment