A Pilgrim's Catechism

The Occasional Thoughts of a 21st-Century Roman Catholic on Journey

Towards the Reign of God 

 Jacob de Backer:  The Three Ages of Man.  Allegory.

What is the fundamental human experience?


From its inception in the womb, the life of the human person is lived out in the moment, the present moment leaving behind the one just past and looking forward to the future.


All of human existence is defined by its encounter with God (through the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit).


The first encounter takes place in the womb when the human brain is sufficiently developed to support consciousness.


It is then that the eternal Word is first heard revealing the presence and reality of God and summoning the foetus to respond by saying “yes” and accepting God’s life that will make the foetus a human person.  The call as always is heard and the response made in the power of the Holy Spirit who in this instance supplies for the absence of learned language and logic 


Every successive moment in the life of the human person is essentially the same: God’s unchanging Word is heard and the challenge is given to grow in divine life.


Because of the created limitations of the human person, because of the particular cultural situation of the person, because of sin and its effects, the understanding of the Word spoken and the challenge given is grasped only in part.  In every successive moment the person has the opportunity of further understanding and growth.


It may be that the person rejects the Word and the challenge by selfishly turning away from God in sin.  God remains ever present to the person through the unchanging Word now understood as calling the person to repentance and forgiveness.  Remember, it is God’s presence, even to the unrepentant sinner, that defines humanity.


The human person, always called to grow in God’s life, is in the same call challenged to share that life with others.  The human person is always united to all the others as they stand as one people in God’s presence.


Since the human person always united to sisters and brothers is called to further growth in understanding and divine life in each successive moment, God, always immanent and yet transcendent, is present and yet future.




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What is a human being?

A creature composed of body and soul?

Made in the image and likeness of God?

When does human life begin?

When is there a human person?

What is the fundamental human experience?

What does it mean for human beings to be responsible?

Can a human being interact with God?

Who is called?

Who is sent?

All are called but does not each individual have a special vocation?

Is faith to be found outside the Church?

Is true freedom “from” or “for?”

What does it mean, “to follow one’s conscience?”