After being taken to task for negativity, I stopped and asked myself, Well, what have been the stronger positive statements of basic Catholicism I have seen? It is not like the book reviews in the NOR offer much in terms of non-technical reading or inspiring. Since Kreeft, in his helpful and encouraging Jesus-Shock, gives a nod to the Baltimore Catechism, the reference there flashed me back to Foley's citing of it here [see below].The article to which the reader makes reference is Michael P. Foley's "The Mass and the Four Most Important Lessons of Childhood" (Scripture and Catholic Tradition, February 1, 2009). The article begins thus:
Somewhere [Fr.] Louis Bouyer writes that the challenge now is to distill our message to fit onto a business card. What?! Almost sounds like an "I Found It!" campaign -- very, very unCatholic. And while the complexities of the Faith may indeed not be best conveyed when condensed, it does make one wonder if we have an incisive message beyond the essentially generic "Hope!" "Love!" campaigns afoot.
Foley's fourth point especially is thus one I liked in terms of how he tackled it. I think we need to hear a lot more of this sort of thing... and Pope Benedict seems somewhat so inclined.
The four principal ends of the Mass are also the four most important things to teach our children—and ourselves.The entire article is well worth reading, as any of you know who may be familiar with Professor Foley's writing.
One of the questions of the old Baltimore Catechism is, "What are the purposes for which the Mass is offered?" The answer given was fourfold:
Adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and satisfaction—mention of these four ends found their way into many an old missal and are still a familiar feature of any traditional catechesis on the Mass. What is often overlooked, however, is the relation of these ends to our own concrete lives as human beings. How exactly do these four things relate to our psychological, emotional, and spiritual welfare?
- First, to adore God as our Creator and Lord.
- Second, to thank God for His many favors.
- Third, to ask God to bestow His blessings on all men.
- Fourth, to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him.
One way to approach this question is to consider the four most important things that we learn to say as children: "I love you," "Thank you," "Please," and "I’m sorry." These four simple sayings are not only capable of directing both young and old onto the path toward human happiness; they also provide a useful analogy for what happens at every Sacrifice of the Mass.
[Hat tip to J.M.]