Reviving the catechism PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 08 May 2015 14:28



Many of us may still remember the catechisms that we studied and tried to memorize in our grade school and high school. The usual memory we have of those days is that of simply rattling off what was memorized if only to pass the quizzes and long tests. But understanding what was said or written, and much less, living them, was another story.

Obviously, when we were freed of the requirement or when no exams threatened our comfortable life, we did not bother anymore to open it. And yet I must say that some remnants of those memorized points lingered and would come to life from time to time.

We may explain the phenomenon as simply a matter of our psychological or emotional conditionings, or some social or purely random factors. But neither should we discount the possibility that through those returning catechism points the Holy Spirit is trying his best to enter into our consciousness, practically begging us to listen to him.

This is actually what is proper of the Holy Spirit in relation to us. He always intervenes in our life, often in ways we are not aware of. Obviously, we need to be more aware of this reality and start to correspond to it more adequately.

And that can mean that we need to give more due attention to the importance of the catechism, among other things. It is the compendium of all the doctrine of our faith that articulates in some systematic way the entire mind and will of God for us. So, if we are interested to know the global mind of God, the catechism is a good instrument.

We have to remember that as image and likeness of God, and as children of his, we are expected to have the mind of God also. His knowledge and wisdom about everything, his desires and designs for us and for the world should somehow be also ours. He shares all these with us, and we should try our best to receive them and live by them.

That, I believe, is what the catechism is and what it is meant for. It’s not just some little book, or sometimes a thick book as in the case now of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that bombards us with points to memorize or, at least, to be familiar with. It has a very strategic role to play in our Christian life.

The catechism puts together in some organic way the salient points of the sources of our faith—sacred scripture, tradition, citations from fathers, doctors and other saints of the Church and Church magisterium. And it has been made by people with both authority and competence. It is not just a personal project of some individuals or private institutions.

Thus, reading and studying it, meditating on it and putting it into practice is like having a living encounter with Christ who is the fullness of divine revelation. It certainly would help us to live our life with Christ in the Holy Spirit. In that light, it is to be considered as necessary and always relevant to us. It can never be passé.

The catechism may not give us the technical answers to our questions, the practical solutions to our problems, but it certainly will give us the proper way or spirit with which we have to tackle these questions, issues, problems, etc., that we will have in life.

It helps us to refer everything to God, making them acquire a spiritual and supernatural value which in the end is what matters in our life, because even in our worst scenarios when we commit mistakes and suffer failures, all that would still be good for us as long as they are referred to God in the spiritual and supernatural way.

We need to promote the abiding study of the catechism in homes, schools, parishes, even in offices and other public places. Whatever event or situation we may be in, some points of the catechism should somehow be put to the fore, no matter show briefly or casually they are made.

We also have to understand that the study of the catechism actually invites us to a lifelong effort to know and incarnate it more and more in our lives. We can never say enough to that effort, thinking that we have already mastered it.

The study of the catechism encourages us to probe more deeply and extensively the breadth and length of our faith which can lend itself to limitless considerations without losing consistency. This is going to be an on-going, lifelong affair.