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Catechism Project 39-49 {+}

Who first shared Christ with me? I wish I could recall, definitively. My paternal grandmother in her cranky Methodist way – that’s her own description of herself not mine though it is fitting – not so much.

There was the weird kid who got stickers and buttons and such and was very excited about it all. He could get more if I came with him to some school, that met on Sunday, in a church. Not so much. That sounded weird to me, even weirder than the weird kid so, even though I could have got buttons and stickers myself I took a pass. Even kids know what it is to be someone’s project.

There was Dave who worked at the same art studio I did when I was a seventeen year old high school drop out. A drop out with my parent’s permission I hasten to add because I dropped out to take that full time job.

Dave used to do something really odd every day at lunch. He would open his paper bag, taking things out one by one and after arranging them to his satisfaction he would close his eyes and then suddenly nod off for twenty or thirty seconds, sometimes longer. Then he’d come-to and start eating. I asked my other workmates about that but they only snickered or rolled their eyes dismissively.

I finally gave in and asked Dave why he fell asleep right before he ate? He seemed offended and didn’t answer me and let into his ham n’ cheese.

I asked him again, a few days later, being careful to say that I wasn’t mocking him, I was sorry to be so ignorant and meant no offence. I was only curious, really curious. He softened as told me that he was saying grace. Oh, ok, I may have said but I was no further ahead. Hard to believe? Maybe but my house, other than gran who kept wisely to herself, was totally secular. I had no frame of reference to sort out what I saw Dave doing and that was the 1970s when our overall North American culture was more Christian than today. Believe it, there are people living in our midst who have no clue. I didn’t.

A few days later I asked Dave again what he meant by “saying grace” and he explained he was praying, giving thanks to Jesus for his lunch. No doubt he saw my disconnect and so he briefly explained that it is ultimately God who gives us everything, life, breath and ham n’ cheese sandwiches.

Looking back, I’d have to say it was Dave who first gave me an idea that there was a Someone out there, maybe the Someone I thought might be out there whom I’d been wondering about as a child, lying in my backyard, looking up to the sky through that little diamond shape made with fingers pressed together. Dave showed me there was a way to speak of God and gave me a glimpse into the idea that this Someone was knowable, personally, like someone you can just talk with before eating your lunch.

We really can name God, starting from the manifold perfections of his creatures, which are likenesses of the infinitely perfect God, even if our limited language cannot exhaust the mystery.

Without the Creator, the creature vanishes (GS 36). This is the reason why believers know that the love of Christ urges them to bring the light of the living God to those who do not know him or who reject him. [CCC #48-49]


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

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