The Gospel Message is preached and spread in the universe in which we live. The Church acknowledges that there is a progressive revelation of God, that Christ was the zenith–or rather, is still the zenith. A human history of salvation, even since the canon of Scripture was settled, continues to edify the faithful, and continues to have a message today:
107. The confession of faith of the disciples of Jesus Christ springs from a pilgrim Church which has been sent on mission. It is not yet that of the glorious proclamation of the journey’s end; rather, it is one which corresponds to the “times of the Church”. (Catechism 1076) The “economy of Salvation” has thus an historical character as it is realized in time: “…in time past it began, made progress, and in Christ reached its highest point; in the present time it displays its force and awaits its consummation in the future. (General Catechetical Directory 44) For this reason, the Church, in transmitting today the Christian message, begins with the living awareness which she carries of it, has a constant “memory” of the saving events of the past and makes them known. In the light of these, she interprets the present events of human history, where the Spirit of God is continually renewing the face of the earth, and she awaits with faith for the Lord’s coming. In Patristic catechesis, the narration (narratio) of the wonderful deeds of God and the awaiting (expectatio) of Christ’s return always accompanied the exposition of the mysteries of faith.*
* The Fathers basing the content of catechesis on the narration of the events of salvation, wish to root Christianity in time by showing that it was a salvation history and not a mere religious philosophy. They also wished to emphasize that Christ was the center of this history.
Do you think Christians, or even Catholics have a sense of history in this way? How many believers see Christianity as a religious philosophy? In catechesis, how is history presented and linked with Christ? For the answers to that last bit, you’ll have to jump in on the next post in this series.