I’m beginning to read a 700 page book of theology. But to say it is just “theology” seems a little uncharitable according to the intention stated by Pope John Paul II. I tell you the truth: every single time I read something a Pope has written, I find my heart rejoicing at most of it.
The intention for the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in a very general statement, is to 1. Guard the “deposit of Faith” 2. “May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!” 3. “It is meant to support the ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith.” 4. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.”
Who is central to all Catholic doctrine?
“In reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church we can perceive the wonderful unity of the mystery of God, his saving will, as well as the central place of Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, sent by the Father, made man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be our Savior. Having died and risen, Christ is always present in his Church, especially in the sacraments; he is the source of our faith, the model of Christian conduct, and the Teacher of our prayer.”
Now for the good start. The prologue opens with the following:
I. The Life of Man – To Know and Love God
1. 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.
I am ashamed of anyone who thinks Catholics cannot be saved (as Catholics, yes).
This passage is theologically rich, narratively accurate, and beautifully written.
Yeah, I judge a lot of books by their opening, and this one is going to be a good book.
*A toast to good beginnings.