Like most children, one of my favorite pastimes was asking questions.
“What is that?”
“Where are we going?”
“Why is the sky blue?”
“When will we get there?”
It is no surprise that Catholics adopted this age-old, anthropological constant of the question-answer format for our beloved Baltimore Catechism.
While I never learned my faith from the Baltimore Catechism, I have seen its fruits in my experience in the Catholic Church. It has been featured in numerous Sunday homilies. The ease and speed with which adults in the generation prior to mine answer any catechism question posed by the priest—in complete unison and with impressive declarative style—is a testament to the power of this ancient learning method. If you doubt that, see Socrates or visit a law school.
I had the great pleasure of working on the marketing for the most current iteration of the question-answer Catechism format, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I am as confident that the Compendium will be a resource for answering the questions of our faith for ages and generations to come.
We can learn two primary lessons from this learning method. First, it never stops (or, at least, it shouldn’t). We should continue to ask questions and find out more about our faith and our God. Second, it never hurts to ask the same questions over and over again—sort of like my pastor posing a Baltimore Catechism question in the middle of a homily. The words in the answer may be the same, but the depth of meaning it has for me has changed because I have changed. My life experience has changed. I have skipped through joyous moments and trudged through sorrowful ones. And until my last day, all of the questions I had about my faith when I was a child are just as relevant and necessary as the answers.
Some of this week’s set of CatholicsRead titles are familiar resources. So why go back to them? Because the answers we seek are different each time we ask, even though the questions remain the same. Others are good companions as we continue on our search. The story of another person’s journey or a new pattern of prayer may hit us differently and with new appeal. Sometimes the timing in our lives and a new presentation can make all the difference in the world.
Catholic Book Publishing’s St. Joseph New Catholic Bible Gift Edition is a reader-friendly format for personal use with a slew of enhanced features to engage your mind and heart beyond just the familiar words.
The Order of Penance–Pocket Edition, also from Catholic Book Publishing, is a perfect companion for use in the confessional. This Lenten book provides a path to a deeper appreciation for God’s eternal saving love.
How often have we heard the letters of the New Testament read at Mass? Yet many of us have rarely spent time understanding their over-arching themes. Threshold Bible Study: Unity in Christ’s Church: Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians is the latest contribution to a wonderful series from Twenty-Third Publications. It explores how the Church in these epistles brings together what the world has separated, transcending the boundaries that divide—national partitions, racial barriers, class distinctions, and political partisanship.
Holy Grit, by Paul George for Ave Maria Press, dives into what it means to become a man of faith through the lives of ten male saints and their experiences pursuing holiness. It looks at some of the tough issues facing men today—struggles in marriage, parenting, suffering, and finding purpose—to determine areas for growth and take steps toward living the life for which God created them.
The Notre Dame Book of Prayer, also from Ave Maria Press, is a collection of prayers and reflections for alumni, parents, and friends of the university. First published in 2010 and now updated with dozens of new prayers, this book shares the vibrant Catholic spiritual life of the University of Notre Dame.
For the true question-and-answer aficionados, Did Jesus Really Exist? and 51 Other Questions from Twenty-Third Publications is the one for you. Everyone has questions about faith and religion. Here, Jesuit priest and author Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, offers clear, concise answers that are free of jargon and take just minutes to read.
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Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.