A catechism is “a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.” Perhaps the most famous catechism in the United States was the Baltimore Catechism….the standard Catholic school text in the country from 1885 to the late 1960s.
“The Baltimore Catechism was the national Catholic catechism for children in the United States, based on Robert Bellarmine’s 1614 Small Catechism. The original catechism contained 421 questions. Perhaps the most famous question is Question #3: “Why did God make you? God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”
Evangelization is always a hot topic. The pews are emptying; how can we pass on the treasure of our faith to those who just don’t know or seem interested. While I don’t think anyone is proposing a return to the Baltimore Catechism, I do think the principle of “answering questions” that are in the heart of man is still vital. But what are these questions and how do we answer them? Hmmmmmm.
What questions are truly burning in the hearts of man today? What are the questions that stay with me when I can’t sleep at night? What’s really important to me? And what are the answers to these questions? Who will I listen to? We need to ask BIG QUESTIONS and receive BIG ANSWERS. What are some of those big questions? Am I asking any of them?
Well, I think it depends? If I don’t have cancer, I’m not interested in the best oncologist at Sloan Kettering in NYC. If I don’t care about making a lot of money, I’m not interested in sitting down with Warren Buffett, ( the most successful investor of the 20th century, with a personal fortune of $60 billion+.) If my plane has conked out in the dessert and I can choose one person …. either World-Renowned Medical Oncologist Luis Diaz, MD, Warren Buffett, or Chuck the Mechanic … I’m going with Chuck… I’m going to do what Chuck says to do…. Chuck is my man.
I once heard that the problem with Christians is “that they keep giving answers to questions that no one is asking”. Yikes, I’ve done that at times. I give an eloquent answer and I hear, “that’s not what I was asking”….oh, sorry. Another line that rings a bell is that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. I think that’s true also. Well, we seem to be wandering all over the place; it’s time to land this BLOG…. even if I don’t see any airport out there.
I would like to propose that we start asking some real questions to those we love and are trying to help discover the love and mercy of God. If someone can raise a heartfelt question that they really desire an answer, then God will show us the answer and help us to present the answer with love and kindness and care. This may take time as we discover that there’s another question even more important and heartfelt. Christ never disdained anyone who asked a heartfelt question. And by the way, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know the answer, but let’s find out the answer together”.
God has the answers…we just need to start asking the right questions. Maybe we start with Q.3: “Why did God make me?”