GDC 116: “A meaningful message for the human person”

When believers encounter the Gospel, it is not merely about refashioning ourselves, about remaking the human person into the image of God. God became human. God made us human. That dignity of humanity means we will be formed in ways consonant with a full humanity. After all, it is how we are made. It is how Christ came to the world.

116. The Word of God, in becoming (hu)man, assumed human nature in everything, except sin. In this way Jesus Christ, who is “the image of the invisible God”, (Col 1,15) is also the perfect (hu)man. From this it follows that “in reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of (humamkind) truly becomes clear”. (Gaudium et Spes 22a)

Catechesis, in presenting the Christian message, not only shows who God is and what his saving plan is, but, as Jesus himself did, it reveals (us to ourselves) and makes (us) more aware of (our) sublime vocation. (cf. Gaudium et Spes 22a) Revelation, in fact, “… is not… isolated from life or artificially juxtaposed to it. It is concerned with the ultimate meaning of life and it illumines the whole of life with the light of the Gospel, to inspire it or to question it”. (Catechesi Tradendae 22c; cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 29)

The relationship between the Christian message and human experience is not a simple methodological question. It springs from the very end of catechesis, which seeks to put the human person in communion with Jesus Christ. In his earthly life he lived his humanity fully: “He worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind, he acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved”. (Gaudium et Spes 22b) Therefore, “Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us”. (Catechism 521; cf. Catechism 519-521) Catechesis operates through this identity of human experience between Jesus the Master and his disciple and teaches to think like him, to act like him, to love like him. (Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 20b) To live communion with Christ is to experience the new life of grace. (Cf. Rm 6:4)

We can point to one vital aspect of this: God came to us. God made the move not only to be with us, but to be one of us. This implies the communion we seek is a mutuality with God. God invites, but God invites with a full experience of  that emptying, that kenosis that is so keenly known and felt when we leave behind everything what we have lived.

That seems enough for today. Next, we’ll look a little more deeply into five human aspects of catechesis. It will be less a list to check off, and more a way of seeing how a human-oriented aspects of faith formation may be conducted.

Meanwhile, any problems or comments on this?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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