Structure of This Catechism

I am still reading through the prologue of the Catechism. This is my fourth post reacting to this text. However, going at such a slow pace with a work as intricate as this allows me to truly examine what the author is trying to teach. At the start of this section my attitude was something to the effect of, “I guess today is just a basic outline; nothing special.” But as I got deeper into the reading it hit me that the Catechism is basically a compilation of reactions to God’s Word as well as a call to serve. I know that seems silly, but I had not looked at it from that perspective before; I have always seen it as a giant, daunting rule book. Now, I am even more excited to delve farther into the teachings of the Catholic Church.

For those of you who are interested in today’s reading, I have easy for it you by providing the excerpt below. If you would like to continue to the next section or beyond, you can also read the Catechism online for free here.

13    The plan of this catechism is inspired by the great tradition of catechisms which build catechesis on four pillars: the baptismal profession of faith (the Creed), the sacraments of faith, the life of faith (the Commandments), and the prayer of the believer (the Lord’s Prayer).

Part One: The profession of faith

14    Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men.16 First therefore the Catechism expounds revelation, by which God addresses and gives himself to man, and the faith by which man responds to God (Section One). The profession of faith summarizes the gifts that God gives man: as the Author of all that is good; as Redeemer; and as Sanctifier. It develops these in the three chapters on our baptismal faith in the one God: the almighty Father, the Creator; his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior; and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, in the Holy Church (Section Two).

Part Two: The sacraments of faith

15      The second part of the Catechism explains how God’s salvation, accomplished once for all through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is made present in the sacred actions of the Church’s liturgy (Section One), especially in the seven sacraments (Section Two).

Part Three: The life of faith

16      The third part of the Catechism deals with the final end of man created in the image of God: beatitude, and the ways of reaching it—through right conduct freely chosen, with the help of God’s law and grace (Section One), and through conduct that fulfills the twofold commandment of charity, specified in God’s Ten Commandments (Section Two).

Part Four: Prayer in the life of faith

17      The last part of the Catechism deals with the meaning and importance of prayer in the life of believers (Section One). It concludes with a brief commentary on the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer (Section Two), for indeed we find in these the sum of all the good things which we must hope for and which our heavenly Father wants to grant us.

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