A caution with the language of GDC 36, that we don’t mistake the “certainty” of faith with the rational knowing of facts. In other words, we aren’t convinced in the same way we understand things we’ve book-learned:
36. “God who creates and conserves all things by his Word, offers to (people) a constant evidence of himself in created things”.(Dei Verbum 3) (People), who by (their) nature and (their) vocation (are) capable of knowing God, when (they) listens to this message of creation (are) able to arrive at the certainty of the existence of God, as the cause and end of all things and as the one who is able to reveal himself to (people).
The Constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council describes Revelation as that act by which God manifests himself personally to (us). God truly reveals himself as one who desires to communicate himself, making the human person a participant in his divine nature.(Cf. 2 Pet 1:4; Catechism 51-52) In this way God accomplishes his plan of love.
“It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will [to (people)]…in order to invite and receive them into communion with himself”.(Dei Verbum 2)
37. The “providential plan” (Eph 1:9) of the Father, fully revealed in Jesus Christ, is realized by the power of the Holy Spirit. This implies:
– the Revelation of God, of his “innermost truth”,(Dei Verbum 2) of his “secret”,(Evangelii Nuntiandi 11) of the true vocation and dignity of the human person; (Cf. Gaudium et Spes 22a)
– the offer of salvation to all (people), as a gift of God’s grace and mercy,(Evangelii Nuntiandi 27) which implies freedom from evil, sin and death; (Evangelii Nuntiandi 9)
– the definitive call to gather into the family of God all of his scattered children, thus realizing a fraternal union amongst (humanity).(Cf. Gen 11:52; Ad Gentes 2b and 3a)
This is an excellent summary of salvation history, though not in a very poetic form. These three good points are important to recall and cast as a basis for our apostolic witness in the world. First, that every individual has a higher calling in the realm of Christ. And that this is a more profound and deeper and richer experience that any of us will find in going our own way. Two, salvation is a gift for all, not for a chosen few. And last, believers are called into a community within the greater setting of the human race. Are we able to say, “This is the way we live”? And does this way have something visible (not necessarily rational) to offer those who are not only sympathetic, but curious?
I think effective catechesis, or faith formation if you prefer, must address a basic evangelization on this level. To everyone we can say: there is a greater plan for you, you are indeed welcome, and in our company, God has ordered an experience of family.
Now, if we can say this, the question of the day is: do we?