I am not a Roman Catholic; reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not something that would have ever occurred to me to do. But I kept running into Catholic writers, one after another, who wrote about faith and life with a richness I hadn’t seen before: Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton, James Martin, and Jean Vanier to name a few. So I spent several years looking into Roman Catholicism in depth, which included reading through the Catechism…twice.
I’m not a fan of catechisms, at least of the Protestant ones I’m familiar with. I understand they have a purpose – to summarize and teach the key tenets of the faith. I find them dry as dust and have seen them used as tools of division. Especially between Protestants and Catholics. So I’m very skittish about them.
When I first read the opening paragraph of this catechism, I was immediately struck by its richness, its emphasis on God’s heart for us, and its awareness of the divisions between us. This was a message that touched my heart, which memorized it then and there, instantly and permanently; I still haven’t memorized it in my head.
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1
May we know God’s plan of sheer goodness in our lives…
p.s. The use of ‘man’, ‘men’, ‘him’ to refer to all human beings is jarring to me now, but it’s the way we were taught to write back in the day. Apologies if you find it jarring or offensive.