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Catechism Project 31-38 {+}

If you hold your hands in front of your face pressing the first finger and thumb together on each hand and then touch them to their opposites you form something that looks like a tiny ‘diamond’ shape that you can see through. Try it, I’ll wait…

When I was a young child I would lie on the hill in our backyard and look up through that little diamond and into the sky. I would look past each thing in turn, leaves on a tree, a bird above that, a cloud far above the bird, a plane cutting through the highest cloud and at night beyond that, stars. It was one of my early personal encounters with the Other or at the very least with the realization that we humans are really very small and mightn’t there be something or even Someone beyond us.

Of course comic book and TV aliens came to mind but even then I knew they were just pretend. Mightn’t there be Someone real and actual beyond all of this down here who perhaps even made all of us and this down here? Maybe I was a strange kid, I don’t know. Maybe I just began asking those questions a little earlier than most but I don’t know that either.

It’s primal to ask those questions. It’s instinctive to consider that there is an Other, greater than we and Good. Had I then any idea at all of St. Paul and his letter to the Romans, chapter one I might have known I wasn’t alone in asking these questions about God based solely on creation and that intuitive pull toward the divine. Or, had I had any sort of Christian upbringing at all, which I had not, not at all, I might have had a reason outside of myself and not of creation itself to think of these things, that is to say had it been suggested to me. It had not.

I had a paternal grandmother who was a cranky praying Methodist but she never really presented the idea of God to me even though she lived in a granny flat in my childhood home. I once, that’s once had an encounter in a United Church Sunday School but that was all finger painting and snacks and friendly matronly women older than my mother and it was but one time and combined with a very negative experience that would certainly have the opposite effect from causing me to want after God. A story for another time perhaps.

So my personal experience is in concert with the passages from the CCC when it says,

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”, can have its origin only in God.

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls God”. [CCC #33,34]

By the time I was seventeen I had more than an inkling as to the limits of my own lights and the beginnings of a grasp both my own brokenness and that of creation. It had become hard to look through my little diamond a believe.

“In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone…This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also “about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error. [CCC #36-37]”

Cross-posted here.

For the Catechism Project, this is your Artist + Illustrator + Occasional Catechist, owenswain of owenswain.com/blawg & Cross-posted here.

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