One doesn’t begin to be a Christian because of an ethical decision or a great idea, but rather because of an encounter with an event, with a Person, who gives new horizons to life, and with that, a decisive orientation.Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, November 13, 2007
What a way to start off the new year of 2023! Father Mike Schmitz and Ascension have teamed up again for the Catechism in a Year podcast. While it has only been a few days, I’m excited to say that I’m still on track with it.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (or CCC for short) is the reference for what Catholics believe. It is quite a sizable book and breaking it down to read over the course of the year, especially after doing the Bible that way a few years ago, makes it much more approachable. The current CCC is the fruit of the Second Vatican Council, which has been tweaked just a bit since it was first released. While I have read the CCC previously, it has probably been close to two decades since I’ve studied it. I very much enjoyed reading the Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike and appreciate his ability to provide insight to the readings each day, which he does equally as well with the CCC.
In preparation, I did purchase the Catechism from Ascension Press and it came with a handy Catechism at a Glance visual overview. Similar to the Bible timeline that comes with their Great Adventure Bible, this Catechism overview breaks down the four parts to highlight the sections, chapters and articles of faith or topics covered. This is a great way to familiarize oneself with the material that will be covered. It also gives a timeline of the references of the nine resources from which the CCC is derived. The catechism book itself is beautifully produced, but my only critique is that the cover is white. I’m glad I have a reason to pick it up each day and read it, otherwise I would be inclined to leave it on the shelf to protect its beauty.
It’s a bit bittersweet that Pope Benedict XVI passed away on the eve of a year that thousands will be reading the CCC. As a priest and as a theologian, Fr. Ratzinger was a participant of the Second Vatican Council and no doubt played a role in the production of the current Catechism. I initially heard the quote from Pope Benedict XVI from Bishop Robert Barron in a reflection of the Pope’s life he gave on YouTube. I love the concept of a “new horizon” as it evokes a reorientation from the path we are on to a new path with a new destination when a person chooses to have a relationship with Jesus. Taking the time to walk through the catechism in a year is the opportunity to make sure that my faith compass is pointing in the right direction.
Every day we have the choice to journey towards God and with God. May the Lord illuminate our path in the days of 2023 to a new horizon full of hope and love.