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October 3, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 3, 1998

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3, 1998 Page 5 An educational section of ARKANSAS CATHOLIC Catechism of the Catholic Church By Barb Minczewski DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION word decalogue means literally 10 words. God revealed these 10 words to His people on the (CC #2056) The decalogue (10 words) the understood in the context of the Exodus, when the chosen people from the slavery of enters into a covenant with the chosen people of His love and care for them, and gives them for how they can respond and live like the of God. went to Mt. Sinai to behold the glory of the :, and the Israelites waited at the foot of the moun- experienced a God who offered a coy- of love with a set of ten words or values, which people respond to God's love and affec- people have experienced 10 mightily acts of plagues which led to their deliverance from commandments were given at an intense moment when God and Israel pledged a to one another. Prophets, poets and wis- Writers would look back at this experience like it wedding day. The commandments are to as a living memory of the experience of love God and His people. In this context, to break Understanding Our Church. l efore adult catechesm A Word on Scripture and Sacred Tradition Judy Hoelzeman to the "General Directory for Catechesis" by the Vatican in January, adult catechesis the goal toward which all Christian catechesis The directory calls special attention to th whose religious formation amounts solely at which they received in childhood, and to people pOSsess a certain faith, but know little even of its principles." Clearly the Church is encour- adults to continue to be formed in the faith, after they end classroom religious instruction or the sacrament of confirmation. e major tasks of adult catechesis states the is "to encourage adults to assume responsibil- the Church's mission and to be able to give witness in society." These statements are an- way of describing our fundamental vocation as If adults can interiorize an understanding =ation first, then ongoing adult formation will be a commandment was harmful for it was breaking acontain four religious responsibilities and six social re- love commitment, sponsibilities. "You have seen for yourselves how... I have you on "The commandments.., express the implications of eagles wings and brought you here to myself, therefore, belonging to God through the establishment of the cov- if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you enant. Moral existence is response to the Lord's loving shall be my special possession dearer to me than all initiative. It is the acknowledgment and homage given other people." (Ex 19:4-5) The people embraced 'he to God and a worship of thanksgiving. It is cooperation Decalogue Ten Words" of Sinai as a way of saying to with the plan God pursues in history." (CC #2062) God, we love you too. Divine love created a people of We become pilgrims on a journey of faith, where the faith and provided them with ten core values that would commandments become insights to awaken us to new show them how to love God and each other, ways of loving God, self and others. These insights force The Hebrew people enshrined this covenant of love us to look at our inner dispositions that underpin our and its values at the heart of the Torah. Torah means deeds. Remember Jesus said it was what was in the heart "to see or to guide." The Torah brought people to see that produces sin. Thus, Jesus gave us the Beatitudes God's love and to experience the Lord's guiding hand. that are the inner attitudes that govern our living and Today we too need to see the commandments and vat- practicing the commandments. ues for living rather than restrictive laws. To think of We have the commandments and their values to make them as just laws hides the sounds of love and care that our human life worthwhile. Connected to the covenant, was heard at Sinai. the commandments promote values that enhance hu- "For this reason these two tables are called Testimony. man dignity and personal growth, and relationships with In fact, they contain the terms of the covenant concluded God and others. Today we need to see the command- between God and His people. These tables of the Testi- ments in terms of their original dynamism, as positive, mony were to be deposited in the arL" (CC #2058) loving values for living as God's people. These values Some people look at the commandments as repres- that are great liberating possibilities are: faith, holiness, sive, limiting and preaching human behavior, but that is gratitude, care, life, fidelity, honesty, truth, purity and far from the truth. The commandments are general generosity. guidelines for action, liberating agents in a person's and Since Moses and the Israelites make a covenant the community's life. To base one's life on universal with God, the 10 values they accepted continue to human values is to be liberated. To treat others as per- find new moral issues upon which to exercise their sons of worth and dignity. This leads to a freer commu- transforming love. These values are possibilities for nication where people trust and respect one another human fulfillment that present a divine strategy for and communication is easier. The commandments are liberating us from destructive behavior. These values guidelines for living life in the human community here are guides for moral living, today, tomorrow, rooted and now. These instill two moral principles: respect and in a deep love. reverence for God and humankind. The commandments See Catechism page 7 must come adult understanding of vocation "Stages of Faith," explores vocation in his later book, tided "Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian." Vocation, says Fowler, is not a job, ministry or occupation, or even one choice. It is a life thrust, in which we constantly try to align our lives with the will of God. Vocation is a life thrust that fits in with Christianity, and with the Hebrew understanding of covenant relationship. Vocation is a call from God, though perhaps not in the dramatic sense. The call, the vocation, comes with baptism. Baptism calls us to be channels of new life and salvation, as Jesus was, in our own lives, whether they seem significant or not. Baptism calls us to re mlmdy the justice, love and com- passion Jesus lived; to extend the work of Jesus. As we learn fi m Peter's speech at Pentecost (Acts 2:37- 38), our baptismal vocation, above all, calls us to change, to real turnaround, or It calls us to become a part of the ongoing human effort to build a future that is a positive alternative to sin and suffering. Fowler's understanding of Christian vocation means that excellence is not based on competition with others because God calls each of us to a vocation different from anyone else's. Some people might achieve excel- lence and feel self-fulfilled, but those are gifts, the "byproducts of faithful response to the faithful love of God." No one needs to be the first to achieve some- thing significant, either, because when we are faithful and really in tune with God's nudges, we are given plenty of opportunities for partnership in God's work. Vocation in this sense frees us, too, to rejoice in the gifts of others. In fact, our limits can be seen as gifts as much as our talents are gifts. In the areas where we are limited, others can supplement our talents. We do not enant faithfulness in relationships that bring about the common good. This Christian understanding of human vocation is a paradox, much like Jesus' teaching on the Kingdom of Gt~ was a paradox. The Kingdom would be created, Jesus showed us, not by a mighty victory, but by vulner- able human suffering. In Christian vocation, strength in- volves seE-sacrifice and looks like weakness. Leadership aimed tmcard the needs of others looks like servanthood. To the world's eyes, a fidfilling vocation means success, public exposure, power, money. For a Christian, being fulfilled means becoming a partner in God's work in the world, since that is our primary call from baptism. This is spelled out in more concrete terms in Colossians 3:12-17. Adults need quiet prayer and reflec- tion at regular intervals to examine the circumstances of their lives and to see how they are listening to their vocational call. Especially in times of crisis, Christians must ask themselves, q_ rd, what are you giving me the opportunity to do here? What is your call to me?" Most of us won't be called to do great and showy things for God. It's more like being called to what Stuard Holden calls, "the consistently maintained atti- tude of heart which refers every choice to God's judg- ment, measures every value by God's standards and endeavors to make every incident of life contribute toward the glorifying of God's name." God does not live across a chasm, only in the doctrines and dogmas and teachings and habits and devotions of Catholicism. God lives in the messy realities and choices of our lives. Ongoing adult faith formation must go hand in hand with this adult understanding of vocation. of life, not just an option for a few. have to be diminished or threatened by that since the Judy Hodmaan/s the for L/ak Rock i: s.,m..u.o.,? .... go , ..................................