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Something to think and pray about this week
Q. Where is God?
— The Baltimore Catechism
A tattered copy of this standard text sat on the desk of every girl and boy in Catholic schools from 1885 till the late 1960s. You will not find a Catholic adult who cannot repeat that remarkable Q and A. It’s a simple expression of faith that points to the chosen part of everything.
I was surprised not to find anything like it in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, but that may just be me. The Baltimore Catechism was a sixty-two-page booklet, and the Vatican catechism has 928 pages and weighs more than my brain. I did find the word omnipotence five times in the index but no mention of the word omnipresence. I thought, Gee, this is like having a classic songbook of the Beatles that doesn’t include “Here, There, and Everywhere.” On the other hand, The Baltimore Catechism doesn’t tell us what Easter is about. It’s helpful to have more than one catechism in the house.
That’s because we can never hear enough of this wonderful Catholic idea: God is everywhere. We know from the movie, The Big Lebowski, that the Dude abides but we know from Scripture and tradition that Grace abounds. Grace runs through everything because God is “here, there, and everywhere.” What could be more comforting? At the end of the novel Diary of a Country Priest a young priest lies dying, waiting for an old pastor to arrive and administer last rites. The friend at his bedside worries that the pastor won’t get there on time and the priest will not receive the church’s last blessing. The dying priest senses his concern and, in a halting but clear voice, says, “Does it matter? Grace is everywhere.” The church may not always be there for us, but Catholicism teaches that God is everywhere for us. That’s all that matters.
- Excerpted from Positively Catholic by Michael Leach