And, Pope Benedict has asked everyone to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
But you’ll never do it.
Oh, you’ve wanted to for a long time. You know you should do it. But it’s so big! And it’s kind of…dry.
I once read the Catechism all the way through…once! But I have to admit, I did it out of fear.
In the Catechetics program at Franciscan, you had to pass a test on the whole Catechism to get the degree. Anything was fair game, so I read the whole thing.
It was a killer test. Hardly anyone passed it the first time. But I did (grin).
How did I do it? Well, here’s a better question, how do you eat an elephant?
The Catechism is essential, if not bedtime, reading
The Catechism is an amazing book. It’s a marvelous compendium of everything the Catholic Church believes. But let’s face it, it’s not light reading.
And did I mention it’s big.
To be fair, it was meant to be a reference for priests and catechetical leaders–people with theological backgrounds. So, it’s written in a more technical style. However, everyone (including people without theology degrees) just found it so awesome, it became a best seller.
Even so, many people are daunted by the thought of reading the it all the way through.
I had a similar book as a Naval aviator. It was called NATOPS, the Naval Aviation Training and Operating Procedures Standardization.
NATOPS was everything you needed to know about an aircraft–systems, electronics, weapons, emergency procedures…you name it, it was in there.
We had to know everything in the NATOPS. Some things, like emergency procedures, we had to know cold. Not only were we regularly tested on it, our lives depended on it. As you can imagine, it was quite large…and quite daunting.
When I first saw it, I was overwhelmed with the thought learning it all.
How do you eat an elephant?
My NATOPS instructor in flight school understood my anxiety. I wasn’t the first to have it. He said, “It seems like an impossibly large task. So we’ll do this the same way we’d eat an elephant. One bite at a time.”
The Catechism is way better reading than NATOPS. And, it’s just an indispensable to your spiritual well-being as the NATOPS was to my physical well-being.
Love depends on knowledge. St. Teresa of Avila believed growth in the spiritual life required knowledge of Christ. For her, the only thing better for this than Sacred Scripture was doctrine. The Catechism is the source for Catholic doctrine.
The Catechism is important because it clarifies and sets forth the revealed truths of God in a systematic way. It helps you get a grasp on understanding who God is and what your response to him should be. That goes a long way toward deepening faith.
How to read the Catechism with Flocknote
I read the Catechism all the way through by starting early and studying it in bite-sized chunks. Some people tried to read it through a few weeks before the test and didn’t absorb the content. It was all just a blur. Or, they got totally burned out and stopped.
Here’s how they describe it:
For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here’s an easy way to do it. Simply enter your email address and – starting October 11, 2012 – you’ll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you’ll read the whole catechism in a year. Cool, right?
This is a perfect devotion to take up for the Year of Faith. The pope wants everyone to study the catechism. You’ve always wanted to read the whole thing but have never been able to make it work. It’s a perfect match!
And as you read a little bit every day, the truths of God will soak into your soul. You’ll gain new insights into how these things apply to your life. You’ll find yourself growing stronger in faith and closer to God as the year goes because the Catechism is truly light along the path of faith. Isn’t that what the Year of Faith is all about?
So prove me wrong! Read the Catechism this year! You can do it if you take it in bite-sized pieces.
Here’s the signup link. Go to that page, put in your email, and beginning October 11, you’ll get little bites of the Catechism delivered to your inbox for daily consumption.
Go now. Your soul will thank me later.
This post originally appeared on Marc’s personal blog, Evangelizing Catechesis. Marc continually studies the science of evangelization and conversion to understand why people believe…and why they don’t. Find more of him there to learn how catechesis can be more effective by being more evangelizing.