by Mary Lou Rosien
As educators of the faith, we need to be fully aware of what the Church expects of Her members. One of the best ways to inform ourselves is to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For those who might be intimidated by the size of the Catechism, may I suggest getting a simpler version of it. One of the ones I like is the Outlines of the Catholic Faith, (Leaflet Missal Company). OSV produces wonderful references for making the Catechism more understandable. The Essentials of Faith, Updated: A Guide to Catechism, by Alfred McBride or Faith Charts: Catholicism at a Glance, by Rev. Raymond Cleaveland are two great resources for Catechists.
I also like the idea of using the Faith Charts to work with children who may not be able to grasp too many difficult concepts at once. They are brightly colored, simple and easy to maintain. These resources can also be suggested to parents for their use and the use of their children.
Today, I would like to focus on the precepts of the Church. They are not very difficult to understand, but I find that many Catholics are completely unaware of them.
These things are the bare minimum that the Church expects of the faithful. My son, Nick, often does not go to Communion. He is currently struggling with the idea of the Real Presence, but I respect that Nick would rather choose not to receive (in case he is wrong) than to receive the Eucharist unworthily and offend God. This actually gives me hope for him. It is my personal belief that it would be better to receive the Lord once a year with the right heart, full of love and free from sin, than many times without any thought about what we are doing at all. Even better (and encouraged by the Church) would be to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation often and receive the Eucharist as often as possible with the right heart.
Let us educate those we teach and their families to understand what the Church really teaches and why. Encourage them to look for answers in the many Catholic resources that are available. I also ask that you pray for my son, Nick, and all who sincerely struggle with faith issues. God bless.
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