I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.” (Dt 30:19-20)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us a roadmap for being his faithful followers. How do we best navigate this roadmap? Here are some guidelines:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Hunger and thirst are powerful states. They indicate a need that demands to be satisfied. They are incessant, calling out for our attention continuously and in ever greater intensity through discomfort and pain. Ultimately, the price for failing to satisfy our hunger and thirst is death.
As we now move into the “Third Pillar” of the Catechism, we will learn that the new dignity we discover in Christ calls us to lead a new life that is “worthy of the Gospel of Christ.”
This new life is the life of communion with God, or beatitude. Because this is the end for which humanity was created, this pillar of the Catechism explores both beatitude and the ways of reaching it.
Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to share in the divine nature by conforming to him through the grace of the Holy Spirit imparted to us through the sacraments.
This is especially true in the case of the sacraments of Christian initiation – baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. In baptism, the faithful are born anew; by confirmation, the faithful are strengthened; and in the Eucharist, the faithful are nourished by the food of eternal life.
The story of God and humanity is a story of God’s invitation for us to enter into the relationship with the divine. All we profess, celebrate, live and pray constitutes the response to the invitation to communion. This naturally and especially applies to our celebration of the sacraments for the whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around them.
In Christian tradition, the word “liturgy” describes the participation of the People of God in the work of God. “Through the liturgy, Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in with, and through his Church.” Liturgy refers to the celebration of divine worship, the proclamation of the Gospel and active charity – in other words, liturgy directs us to service to God and neighbor. In each of these, the Church shares in the one priesthood of Christ in both its prophetic and kingly aspects.
The Catechism describes the Church as both the “means and the goal of God’s plan” of communion. The word itself means a convocation or assembly (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to “call out of”).
Our being made for communion with God makes perfect sense since God has revealed himself to be communion – a Trinitarian communion: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This mystery of the one God, three persons is “the central mystery of Christian faith and life.” As a mystery of faith, however, the Trinity is inaccessible to reason alone. What we can know of this mystery is entirely dependent on God revealing who he is to us.
Part 2 of a year-long study of the Catechism
In his 1992 Apostolic Constitution, Fidei Depositum, Blessed John Paul II indicated the Catechism of the Catholic Church “is a statement of the Church’s faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by sacred Scripture, the apostolic tradition and the Church’s magisterium.” He went on to declare it to “be a sure norm for teaching the faith.”