I am undertaking the adventurous task of working through the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
It only has 826 pages to go through, no big deal………I’m just gonna put on some coffee real quick. This is gonna take awhile.
I think reading the CCC (That stands for Catechism of the Catholic Church) is more important than ever. Here’s why:
- This is the first time in history that an entire generation has had access to the official teachings of today’s Church. Think you understand Catholicism? Think again! Chances are you have been exposed to lots of funny-looking traditions without anyone being able to tell you why we do what we do. That should not have happened. It only took us a couple THOUSAND years (geez, facepalm, guys) but now you can look up the actual meaning behind why the global Church believes what it believes. (As an aside: you can also figure out what the church does NOT believe, so you don’t have to listen to rumors or whatnot anymore, hooray!)
- Some of us grew up with a very intuitive, very mystical version of Catholicism that was entertaining, sure, but it wasn’t correct. It wasn’t even Catholicism–who knows what cockamamie shenanigans we were actually doing. Silliness. I am constantly surprised by the amount of superstition among Catholics, and this happens in different ways, all over the world. Now don’t get me wrong–miracles are real, and if you follow a Catholic path, you will ABSOLUTELY start to notice some truly supernatural things happening around you. However, don’t kid yourself. You don’t get to control nature, or control others, and you certainly don’t get to say who is worthy and who is not. That stuff is not Catholic, and the CCC outlines precisely why.
- You guys should know by now how much I believe in an education for every person. The beautiful thing about Catholicism is that you do not have to have an education to be Catholic. The act of being Catholic is what actually gives you an education! How’s that for a bargain?
- Guess what: if you know the rules of the Church, you’ll know if your parish priest is not so up-to-snuff with authentic Catholic leadership. Maybe it’s because I love being an American, but I kind of like the fact that I get to know what is real, and I get to know whether or not the authorities around me are acting in a way that is corrupt or not. It’s kind of like Fulton Sheen says:
I have to believe that the accessibility of the CCC since the mid-1990’s has been the most powerful weapon against scandal and evil that has had much too long to run amok in the Church. Everywhere I look, even now, I see churches getting better, brighter. Even today, I see enemies that were once hidden within the church being exposed, and disciplined and dismissed, or in some cases, running away–good riddance! Don’t let the chapel doors hit you on the way out! (CLEARLY I have some reading to do about mercy still…I’m working on it.) I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Catholicism is coming steadily back to life, and I personally feel it is more vibrant, meaningful, and effective than it ever has been before. I’m pretty excited to see what happens next, actually!
- Here’s my favorite reason for reading the CCC: It becomes clear that no human being could possibly live up to every single expectation of a holy life, 100% of the time. And it’s no secret! The Church KNOWS this, and has always known it, because Jesus knew it, and always knew it, and He’s the one who founded this Church! Therefore, it becomes proof that the Church isn’t around to judge or condemn you. Yes, there’s stuff you should do. And yes, you’ll be expected to do said stuff. And yes, you’ll also fail a whole bunch of times. It is a requirement of a huge amount of responsibility, but the Church also offers just as much mercy, if not more. Expectation AND mercy, being perfectly dispensed, every single time. I know, I know, these things don’t go together in any other place in the world. It’s like they can’t exist simultaneously But! they do in the Church, and that’s what Catholics mean when they talk about Mystery–because how can it be so? But it is. It’s very cool.
If you notice what I notice about the Church, I bet you would enjoy reading the CCC too!
And if you feel the way I feel about the Church cleaning out a lot of garbage, maybe it’s a sign that you need to be a part of it, to help make sure the bishops act like bishops, and the priests act like priests, and for that matter, to make sure that Christians actually act like Christians. I’m just saying: if you are the sort who gets fired-up about this stuff, chances are we really need you, to remind us of the truth. Maybe this book is something that you could use to do a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people. I hope you’ll consider it.
P.S. If you have been lucky enough to have received instruction from a fantastic Catechist, send that deserving person a thank-you card!!
Source for Adventurous Reading:
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Modifications from the Editio Typica. English translation (United States, 2nd edition) United States Catholic Converence, Inc., Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1997. Print.
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*This post was NOT sponsored.
Ready to have an adventure of your own? Start with a good book–perhaps even the one from this article–and see where it takes you!