Monday, November 5, 2012

Reading the Catechism (Week 3)

My thoughts on the Catechism this past week...

Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself.105 Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament.106 As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.107

One of the greatest revelations to me, as a Catholic, is the way the Bible "interprets itself."  Instead of saying Mary is hardly mentioned in the New Testament, and therefore has very little importance, we can look at how the Ark of the Covenant is reverenced and untouched.  Mary carried The Word, just as the Ark did.  She is the Ark of the New Covenant and worthy of reverence.

"Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too — pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place — is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture."111

Ah, this tells me that the most important catechesis comes from the homily at Mass, a fact which, sadly, many priests don't seem to understand.  It's no wonder many Catholics don't know what the Church teaches on difficult issues.

By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, "the obedience of faith".3


To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.

I've always had so much admiration for Abraham whose faith was so incredible that he was able to leave everything and go to a strange land where he would not have been welcomed.  Not only that, but he was asked to sacrifice his own son---and very nearly did it!  Mary may be the perfect embodiment of faith, but aside from giving her assent to the task of being God's mother, I've never been inclined to compare her faith to Abraham's.   

How do you compare Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac with Mary's submission to Jesus's sacrifice?  She didn't wield the knife as Abraham did...I really have to think about this comparison!  (Not that I question Mary's position in Heaven or her importance to the Church, just I've never thought of these two people as similar examples of faith.)

1 comment:

  1. Mary did not participate in the sacrifice actively, but neither did she attempt to stop it. She knew that it had to be done, though by all information we have, no one told her. Just as Abraham did not know why.

    I understand why Our Lord was sacrificed, for we would never have understood His love 2000 years later without such a tremendous act. I have never understood why God put Abraham to the test. As an all-knowing God, He knew what Abraham would do. I am still a little baffled.

    We heard an interesting story at Mass yesterday. One that has supposedly been passed down outside the Bible -- that when Abraham was ready to kill Isaac, he told him he hated him, had always hated him. When the angel stopped him, Abraham told Isaac that he loved him dearly and only told him he hated him because if he had told him that God had instructed him to kill him, then he would have died hating God. Instead he wanted him to die hating his father. Definitely another kind of sacrifice.


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