Saturday, December 26, 2015

Making Life Decisions

I know it's still Christmas - but I was moved to present this teaching from the Baltimore Catechism... When we are faced with life decisions, how should we approach them?  The Baltimore Catechism, while being very basic in approach can be very useful in many other ways.  To tie this back into Christmas, consider one of Jesus' names, "Emmanuel," which means "God with us."  All our decisions, especially major life decisions, should be made under Emmanuel - God with us.  

Baltimore Catechism No. 1

LESSON FIRST: ON THE END OF MAN

1. Q. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.

We start out very basic, to get a firm foundation/premise upon which to build. 

2. Q. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty - maker of Heaven and Earth, and all things visible and invisible.

3. Q. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.
We are made in His likeness and image.  Like Him, He has given us the freedom of the will, to choose between good and evil - to listen to and obey Him, or to listen to selfish desires and avoid talking to Him.
6. Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven. 
We cannot lose sight of this focus!  He made us so that we can be happy with Him for ever in Heaven.  Without Him, our happiness can only be temporary - and without Him, our "for ever" will be the opposite of happiness.  What good is a temporary happiness now if eternity is spent in unhappiness?
9. Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.
This also means that we are to take EVERY THOUGHT captive to Him if we wish to succeed (2 Cor. 10:3-6).   If we truly believe in Him, hope in Him and love Him - then every decision we make, we present to Him and proceed as He would direct us.
10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.
God not left us rudderless, but has built for us His Church.  This Church, through valid succession of bishops all the way back to Christ and the Apostles, has given us spiritual fathers, our priests, to whom we can go to to seek counsel.  If we are making a big decision in our lives, we should not proceed without talking to our priest/confessor to ensure we're not motivated out of selfish interests - but are moving down a path acceptable to God.
11. Q. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches?
A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles' Creed.

12. Q. Say the Apostles' Creed.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
Amen. 

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