The Catechetical Saints

Introduction

 

The 1994 release of the English translation of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH engendered a range of reactions as diverse as those who reacted. However, we need neither deep speculation nor great scholarship to tell us what the response of those two catholic and totally apostolic saints, Francis and Clare of Assisi, would have been to this gift of the Church. They who began and ended their Gospel-based Rules with an affirmation of obedience and loyalty to the Holy Father and to the Church would, in our day, be the first to purchase, the first to ponder and the last to criticize this great compendium of faith and truth. The following reflections are intended to help all of their twenty-first century followers to approach God’s teaching set forth in the CATECHISM with gratitude and openness, fidelity and prayer.

Part 1
Catechesis is an education in the faith…

(CATECHISM, 5)
To say “I believe in God” changes everything. It did for St. Francis. And it most assuredly did for St. Clare. They knew by faith’s instinct that a CREDO declared reverberates into every corner of one’s being. “I believe in God:” the God who made me, saved me, loves me, provides for me, forgives me. It is all so simple. And it is all so very demanding.

The two saints of Assisi knew that all of life can be an education in the faith. If one is led by faith – faith in an almighty, all-provident, all-loving God – then one lives by faith which quite naturally (and supernaturally) springs up into
a desire to lead others to the “yes” of faith in Jesus Christ.

(#429)

This is why Francis could spend hours praying, My God and my All; why, at the end of his life, he could write in all simplicity, God gave me such faith; why he never ceased to exhort his friars and his friends and even his enemies to love, honor, adore and bless this great God of ours.

I believe. We believe. Let this be the theme of our inner lives and our outer lives. If we believe, we come to know. What we know, we come to love. And what we love, we desire to share, always and everywhere, with others. Francis did. And Clare did. And so must we.

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