We are approaching the one year anniversary of Pope Benedict's Year of Faith. I can honestly say that I didn't expect we'd have a different Pope closing out the Year of Faith from when it was declared. While I welcome the spirit of love and humility that Pope Francis has brought into the Church since his election, I do miss Pope Emeritus Benedict as well. Sentimentality aside, though, let's get down to business. You have approximately twelve weeks left before the Year of Faith closes! What have you done to deepen your faith? If you made grand resolutions that you didn't see through, don't give up hope! You still have time to make this year count! I recommend a study series from Ascension Press called Pillars. Today, I will be reviewing Pillar I: The Creed.
Ascension Press series before, then you might expect a series that requires a 3-4 day commitment each week. Don't expect so easy of a time with the Pillars series. After the Introduction in Week 1, you will be asked to read 100 paragraphs in the Catechism for Week 2. To many this will seem like a daunting task, and there is an option to read only a selection from the 100 paragraphs, but before you make this choice, I recommend that you try to read all 100 paragraphs. Anything worth having won't come easy, and if something is truly important to you, you will make time for it. So before you quit and go in with a defeatist attitude, I implore you to at least TRY.
The first thing we learn in this study is that the Catechism is NOT merely a reference book. I admit that I am guilty of using it as just that for many years. If I had a question, I knew I could turn to the index and find the appropriate paragraph to answer my question. While the Catechism is useful in this respect, it is "a road map to their journey of faith." You then learn that the Catechism is broken into four parts or pillars - 1. The Creed, 2. The Sacraments, 3. Moral Life, and 4. Prayer. Ascension Press will have a DVD series for every pillar. The pillars can also be looked at as rungs on a ladder, which draw us ever closer to God and Heaven.
But what will you learn specifically in Pillar I: The Creed? You will learn primarily that the Creed is more than just some words we say at Mass every week. It is the entire story of salvation. Think about that next time you are saying it at Mass or while praying the Rosary. Perhaps the most fascinating part to me was Session 5, which discusses God and His Creation. This includes more than the physical world where you and I live; it also encompasses the spiritual world, where angels dwell. You'll also learn the role angels play in our salvation and the help they provide us.
With insightful lectures by Dr. Sean Innerst and in-depth questions to guide your study, you will benefit greatly from this study. I certainly did! In fact, I can't wait to dive into Pillar II: Sacraments! It was just released, and I bet it will be as great as Pillar I. Check back in December (or January if something comes up) for my review of it! If you're still not convinced that you have the time to pour into a series with this much depth, then I implore you to at least check out Dr. Innerst's book From Blessing to Blessing. It is only 71 pages, and will provide you a brief look at the Catechism.
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