GDC 139: Pedagogy of God

Chapter I of Part Three is headed with this, “Pedagogy of God, source and model of the pedagogy of the faith,” and footnoted thus: (Dei Verbum 15; General Catechetical Directory 33; Catechesi Tradendae 58; Christifedeles Laici 61; Catechism 53, 122, 684, 708, 1145, 1609, 1950, 1964)

Today’s section, “Pedagogy of God,” heavily referenced in the Scriptures, reads as follows:

139. “God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Heb 12:7) The salvation of the person, which is the ultimate purpose of Revelation, is shown as a fruit of an original and efficacious “pedagogy of God” throughout history. Similar to human usage and according to the cultural categories of time, God in Scripture is seen as a merciful Father, teacher and sage. (Cf. Dt 8:5; Hos 11:3-4; Prov 3:11-12) He assumes the character of the person, the individual and the community according to the conditions in which they are found. He liberates the person from the bonds of evil and attracts him to himself by bonds of love. He causes the person to grow progressively and patiently towards the maturity of a free son, faithful and obedient to his word. To this end, as a creative and insightful teacher, God transforms events in the life of his people into lessons of wisdom, (Cf. Dt 4:36-40; 11:2-7) adapting himself to the diverse ages and life situations. Thus he entrusts words of instruction and catechesis which are transmitted from generation to generation. (Cf. Ex 12:25-27; Dt 6:4-8; 6:20-25; 3:12-13; Jos 4:20) He admonishes with reward and punishment, trials and sufferings, which become a formative influence. (Cf. Amos 4:6; Hos 7:10; Jer 2:30; Prov 3:11-12; Heb 12:4-11; Rev 3:19) Truly, to help a person to encounter God, which is the task of the catechist, means to emphasize above all the relationship that the person has with God so that he can make it his own and allow himself to be guided by God.

In a way, this has always been God’s methodology. God meets us where we are. Jesus Christ is the pinnacle of this witness through the incarnation. Jews and Christians have always seen God as a real person, and this deepens our sense of God’s compassion for us. God will intervene–we’ve come to expect it. And when it seems to be withheld, believers can be indignant.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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