Easily overlooked, even by lifelong Catholics, is the appreciation of truths of our Faith. For example:
• The Seven Sacraments and the centrality of Mass;
• The Real Presence in the Eucharist and the great privilege of Eucharistic Adoration;
• The role of the Magisterium under the guidance of the Bishop of Rome and those bishops in communion with him;
• The role of the Blessed Mother in the Church;
• The spiritual value of suffering;
• Our part in the Communion of Saints: the intercession of the saints and the value of our prayers for one another and for the souls in purgatory.
It is to these and to so many other dogmas of our Faith to which we give implicit assent in the Nicene Creed we recite each Sunday. One commentator puts it this way: “Dogma is the record of the absolutely unchangeable love of God for us. It is the crystallization of all truths of divine love so far revealed to us – a burning vision of truth sent by the Holy Spirit to prophets, disciples, evangelists and saints, finally reaching verbal for in the words of pope and councils.” [Ronda Cherwin]
Clearly the truths of our Faith are providential gifts to us on our way to eternal goal. We must never be apologetic about Catholic dogmas, but rather with the insights of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at hand, explore them for our own spiritual and intellectual growth. Important as they are, however, they pale in the significance of our response to the ultimate question for eternal life.
“How does the death and Resurrection of Jesus make a difference in my life?” As a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, how clear and convincing would my answer be?
Edwin Cardinal O’Brien
(April 17, 2019)