| By Pete Burak

God Reveals Himself in the Catechism

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) doesn’t waste any time proclaiming the overwhelming and dynamic core of our faith. “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 … God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength.”

Those lines alone contain enough mystery, power and challenge to fill dozens of articles, but if you continue reading the CCC prologue it only gets better. We learn about God’s saving plan for humanity and the obligation of the faithful to pass on what we believe to each generation. From the get-go, the authors make it clear that this relatively large and potentially intimidating book cannot be reduced to a dry recitation of Church rules, but a beautiful explanation of the love letter God has revealed through his Son, the sacred Scriptures and the rich history of the Church. Buckle up, friends, we’re starting at least a four-part series on the catechism, so prepare to be wooed by the incredible generosity, wisdom and love of God found in the Church’s teachings.

The catechism is divided into four major parts, or pillars. The first is “The Profession of Faith.” Here we find chapters unpacking God’s generous revelation of himself, the need for our response and each of the beliefs we profess through the creed. As I read through this pillar, I kept marveling at the mystery of belief and how faith must be tied to obedience.

God has revealed himself to humankind and has invited us into a relationship with him, and we ultimately have two choices: rejection or, as CCC #143 says, “the obedience of faith.” At the same time, CCC #153 tells us that “Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him.”

The only right and just response to God’s loving plan for humanity is personal adherence to the fullness of his revelation, but in his mercy, he knows we need divine help to respond with faith. Part one of the catechism eloquently draws back the curtain on this mystery and invites us to dive more deeply into both God’s plan and the need for us to consistently say with conviction, “I believe.”

The catechism isn’t boring, it’s not just for theologians and it’s not purely existential. It’s a gift. Who’s ready to open it together?

The year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Text of the catechism can be found online at usccb.org.

Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He has a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker on evangelization and discipleship.