I felt that I might be - quite likely was - missing something, a sort of second vocation.
I still feel that way, from time to time.
That's how I feel.
Now, what I think.
It's [Not] All in the CatechismI'm a convert to Catholicism, so I didn't know much about the Baltimore Catechism when I was growing up.
I've seen that old standard in more recent years, and think that the Q&A format made sense for a book that was used as a teaching tool. I also think that the Holy See had the right idea, publishing a newer Catechism.
Back to the Baltimore Catechism for a moment, though: here's a question and answer pair that addresses the question "what does God want me to do?" Sort of.
"4. What must we do to gain the happiness of heaven?That's pretty straightforward:
"To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world."
(Baltimore Catechism, Revised Edition (1941), The Purpose of Man's Existence, via CatholiCity.com)
- Know God
- I've been working on that
- Love God
- Same comment
- Serve God in this world
- Great advice
- But how?!
- Great advice
You can probably guess how God would react to a demand like that. If not, check out Job in the Old Testament.
Specific Instructions: A Case StudySt. Francis of Asisi, I'm told, in response to a prayer in a ruined church, heard a voice telling him "...'Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.'..." (Catholic Encyclopedia, Saint Francis of Assisi) So he went off and started repairing St. Damian's, the church where he'd been praying.
There's nothing wrong with a DIY job of architectural restoration: but there's very good reason to believe that St. Francis of Assisi was supposed to "repair" the Church: the outfit that my Lord put Peter in charge of.
Eventually, St. Francis did "repair" the Church. Which is another story.
I'm no Francis of Assisi: and I don't mind a bit.
Have you noticed? Quite often, the first thing a prophet did was try to talk his way out of the assignment. It was the same way with a fair number of Saints, I understand. And I'm getting off-topic. Again.
'Don't Worry - be Happy'Wanting to be happy probably makes sense: assuming that "happiness" isn't a sort of vacant euphoria. I seriously doubt that's the sort of "happiness" defined in the current Catechism:
"...God put us into the world to know, love, and serve him, and so come to the happiness of paradise (1720)."Sounds a lot like what was in the Baltimore Catechism, doesn't it? (I've quoted that excerpt from the Catechism's glossary before.)
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary, H, under Happiness)
What is the Purpose of Life? To Know, Love and Serve GodThat triad of instructions - to know, love and serve God - are clear enough. But that still doesn't answer my desire for explicit, specific instructions about what to do with my life.
Which is okay. I've learned that the Church doesn't work like that. We get instructions like "be charitable." It's up to us to decide, based on what we see around us and how the local culture works, just what we do to be charitable.
How to Serve God? Good QuestionI've decided that I was probably supposed to serve a family as a husband and father. Which I've been doing for over a quarter-century now.
Along the way I've given a tenth part of what I make to the Church and a variety of charities. No bragging, by the way: I've just been following instructions about tithing, within the framework of the culture I live in.
I've also tried to be an informed citizen. America selects leaders in elections, and I have the right to vote: so when I vote, I'm responsible for having some awareness of which candidate deviates least from what a practicing Catholic can, in good conscience, support.
And, in a small way, I support the charitable activities of the Knights of Columbus, through the local council.
Finally, I try to let folks know what it's like to live as a Catholic: and tell what I know about my faith.
Which is where this blog comes in.