Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Opinions, Jesus, and a Really Important Task

As a Catholic layman, I'm obliged to look for the Kingdom of God in everyday life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 898-900) I'm also, like any Christian, expected to tell people about Jesus. (Catechism, 425)

"Proclaiming Jesus:" One Task, Many Options

I've got quite a few options for how I go about "proclaiming Jesus." (Catechism, 425)

I could imitate Coleridge's grey-beard loon. That sort of 'street preaching' worked in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," but it's not my style.

Some folks post Bible verses at regular intervals. If I did that, and followed the liturgical calendar, I would have ready-made material for each day of the year.

For example, today is the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist, so I could copy at least part of 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18; and Mark 6:17-29: and be done for the day.

But you can look up daily readings quite a few places online, including the USCCB's calendar. With 'official' sources like that available, I don't see a point in duplicating their efforts.

1 Corinthians 12 discusses a variety of assignments God has for us. There's even a place for relatively unglamorous jobs like administrator. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

I've decided to do my "proclaiming Jesus" by sharing what I learn about my faith, and what it's like being a Catholic in America.

Whose Opinion Counts?

Decades back, my father and I were discussing something that involved God, authority, and whose opinion mattered. My dad noted that "at some levels of authority, argument is pointless." I agreed then, and still do.

I think my opinions about how food tastes, whether or not flip-flops are appropriate foot wear, and other details of everyday life, matter - to me. But I'm not allowed to take my opinions, and present them as God's unchanging law:
"In catechesis 'Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, . . . is taught - everything else is taught with reference to him - and it is Christ alone who teaches - anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ's spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips. . . . Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me." '16"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 427)
That last quote is from John 7:16.

'It's Not About Me'

"Catechesis" means telling people who Jesus is, and what my Lord said. Folks who do catechesis are called catechists, and I went over that last week. (August 22, 2012) Some of these posts mention Jesus and what the Son of God taught: so sometimes they're catechetical, sort of.

When I write about Jesus, I'm supposed to focus on my Lord: not try to pass off my attitudes and opinions as God's:
"...Christocentricity in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one's own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that He communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that He is. ... Above all, he [every catechist] will not try to inculcate his personal opinions and options as if they expressed Christ's teaching and the lessons of His life...."
("Catechesi Tradendae," 6)
As I've said before, it won't be more than a few decades, tops, before I get a very serious interview with my Lord. (Catechism, 1021-1022) I think my particular judgment will go much more smoothly, if I remember that presenting the Gospel is about Jesus: not me.

'It's About Me'

This blog's description says that it's about my experience, being a Catholic in America: so quite a few of the posts are about me, more or less. I don't see a problem with that, as long as I remember that 'God's God, I'm not.'

Related posts:
  • "Catechesi Tradendae"
    On Catechesis in Our Time
    John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation (October 16, 1979)

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.