The Catholic Catechism: Breathing with Both Lungs

There are many wounds to our unity as Christians, and this is even true among those who are in full and visible communion with each other. I’ve mentioned instances of this in the past, but do not consider dwelling on our weaknesses to be any sort of strength. In this post, I’d like to consider one small way in which we as Western and Eastern Christians are succeeding in loving each other through understanding one another, in a way that many may have overlooked.

I was reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church to help prepare myself to teach a Sunday School class, when a wonderful observation came my way.

For, you see, I had read the entire Catechism as a Presbyterian inquirer into the Catholic Faith. I had understood its claims propositionally, but its soul and its grit escaped my sight in those days, when wrestling with truth so often took precedence over a heart of prayer and embracing the Truth as my Lord and God. But in reading the Catechism as one who has now embraced the Apostolic Faith, I was overjoyed to read this section:

732 On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the “last days,” the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated.

We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith: we adore the indivisible Trinity, who has saved us.

Those of us who are Eastern Christians will immediately recognize the italicized text quite well-we sing it after most Divine Liturgies, just after receiving the Eternal God through the Divine Eucharist. But to see a pan-Catholic Catechism quoting from our life of prayer almost nonchalantly, this was marvelous to consider. It is as if the authors of the Catechism were saying, “We want you to understand the importance of what we’re quoting, so please learn the Byzantine Liturgy, and feel its truth as we quote it to you.” It is a call to breathe with both lungs!

To such a proposition I can only say, “Thank You.” And I also would hope that we who know these words as part of our own soul would reach out to share its beauty and truth with all who have ears to hear.


  1. I was reading through the post and started humming at the appropriate point 😉

    I had a similar experience at the JP2 Group when we were reading the ancient liturgies of the Church, especially when we got to the Liturgy of St. James. It was very hard not to break out into song every five minutes… 🙂

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