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Catholicism 101: The Purpose of Man’s Existence

Our basic Catechism teaches us what we must know to gain heaven.  The study of our Catechism is more important than any other study we do at school (child or adult), so why is it that so many of us ignore this important detail?  Is it that we aren’t aware of its importance?  Stop blaming Father {insert last name} for not being strong enough and not teaching us enough, he should be but it is also up to you to learn these truths.  The things which God has made depend on Him to stay in existence because He is all goodness and perfection.  In this series entitled, Catholicism 101, I will attempt to explain some of these basic truths of out Catholic faith in very simple terms.  I am no expert or theologian but I am a mom and teacher and have been teaching this since I was 18, wow that’s 20 years {so maybe I do have *some* credibility}.  I will be using an old Baltimore Catechism first printed in 1941 as my source.  Nothing to fear the Faith doesn’t change, as God doesn’t change.

God is the Supreme Being, that is, He is above all things else in heaven and on earth.  The word Supreme Being means the highest and the greatest – above all.  He is infinitely perfect.  The words infinitely perfect refers to God who is perfect without any limit or measure.  He made everything.  Not a man or a woman, a tree or a bird, or anything could keep on existing unless God wills it.  He especially made you and me to show forth His goodness and to have us enjoy His everlasting happiness in heaven.  But to gain heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, teaches us how to do this, through the Catholic Church.  In the Apostles’ Creed we find the chief truths which Jesus Christ teaches us.

Lets take a closer look at the Apostles’ Creed {with my notes in the parenthesis}:

Apostles’ {the twelve men chosen by Christ to be His first priests} Creed {a list of truths to be believed}  – This is the list of the most important truths about God which the apostles handed down to us.

I believe {to know as true, because God said so.} in God, the Father Almighty{having all power as God alone has}, Creator {God who made all things from nothing} of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ {the Son of God, the second Person of God, who became man and died for us},  His only Son, Our Lord {Jesus Christ, who is our King}; who was conceived {given life} by the Holy Ghost {the Holy Spirit, the third Person of God}born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate {the Roman Governor of Judea when Christ lived in the Holy Land}was crucified {nailed, hands and feet, to a cross}died and was buried.  He descended into hell {where God’s enemies live in the next life}{where God lives}, the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty {having all power as God alone has}; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost, the  Holy Catholic Church {the one true Church Christ made}, the communion of saints {union of God’s friends in this life with God’s friends in the next life}, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection {coming back to life again} of the body, and life everlasting.  Amen.

Spirits are the highest form of beings in all existence.  They have no bodies.  A spirit is a being that has understanding and free will, but no body, and will never die.  God is a spirit, and the greatest Spirit because He is self-existing.  This means that He does not owe His existence to any other being.  God is eternal because He always was and always will be the same.  His perfections, good qualities, are infinite, without any limit.  This is why we say God is infinitely perfect.  Some of the perfections of God are:  God is eternal, all-good, all-knowing, all-present, and almighty.  When we say that God is all-good we mean that He is infinitely lovable in Himself, and that from His fatherly love every good comes to us.  When we say that God is all-knowing we mean that He knows all things, past, present, and future, even our most secret thoughts, words, and {gulp} actions.  When we say that God is all-present we mean that He is everywhere.  Although God is everywhere, we do not see Him because He is a spirit and cannot be seen; at least not with our eyes.  But God sees us and watches over us with loving care and that for us is called Divine Providence.  God is almighty because He can do all things.

The perfections of His creatures are finite, or limited.  They are merely sharing in the perfections of God.  We know by using our own mind, or natural reason, that the world could have been made only by an infinite God.  However, God Himself has revealed, or told, this, and much more about Himself, to us.  We find this supernatural, or above the natural, revelation, truths made known, by God in two sources:

1.  Sacred Scripture, the Holy Bible {yes, Catholics read the Bible every day!} and

2. Tradition, the holy teachings handed down and revealed by God Himself.

We know by our natural reason that there is a God, for natural reason tells us that the world we see about us could have been made by a self-existing Being, all-wise and almighty.  Just look at the details of basic biology; this could not be made by chance or explosions, only a careful loving Father could have taken such detail to all creation.  Besides knowing Him by our natural reason, we can also know Him from supernatural revelation, that is, from the truths.

Catholicism 101: Creator: Infinite Perfections

To recap, lets look at the illustration directly which basically demonstrates the following:
God knows all things,
can see all things,
can do all things,
He is everywhere but had no beginning.
He is all good,
all beautiful,
all just,
all holy,
all wise and all merciful.
He is infinite perfection.

We, his creatures, are finite perfections.  Made in His image and likeness, we too can be beautiful, just, good, holy, wise, merciful but we had a beginning, we are not everywhere {unless you’ve experienced the gift of bilocating, like the great saints}, we can do some things, and know somethings but only just so much and no more.  We need to study our Faith and Her Truths, by studying the Catechism which encompasses both Sacred Scriptures and Traditions. So what act or prayer do you specially say to show that you love God?  You trust God?  You believe in God?