The Adventure of Faith
20 September 2017
Today is the feast of the Korean Martyrs. Without a doubt, this is a fascinating epoch in Church history.
Normally, the Church has grown and spread afar through missionaries of one type or another. The Acts of the Apostles has Christians going this way and that, sometimes through zeal, other times through persecution. Either way, they took the Gospel to those who were Jewish and Gentile.
The Korean Church did not begin this way. Rather, a group of intellectually engaged men and women were interested to see what was on offer to help solve the ills of society. They were concerned about others.
The details of the story are clear, but not so precise. We think that one of them stumbled across a Catholic Catechism. He liked what he read. Headed off to China and was baptised there. He returned and others followed him in the “adventure of faith.”
So, in other words, it was the lay faithful who began the Church in Korea, not priests, Bishops, religious brothers or sisters. The laity led the charge, not missionaries from other countries or regions. Fascinating, don’t you think?
Now all of this motivates us to get to know our faith a little better, don’t you think? It will help us for sure, but also prove of great benefit to society.
I recommend to you the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or if you’re younger and a bit more spritely, then try YouCat – a brilliant exposé of the Catholic faith for young people. Actually, I’d give it nine and half out of ten!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is perhaps the best document the Church has produced in her entire history. It emphasises God’s grace and then our response. This is unlike other older catechisms which began with our duty before God. They stultified our spiritual life because of this approach.
Take for instance the very first paragraph of the Catechism. You’ll get a taste of its style and it might just help you in prayer this day:
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created us to make us share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to us.
He calls us and helps us to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men and women, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church.
To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites us to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life (CCC 1).