“…this book can be transformed from a silent instrument, like a valuable violin resting on a velvet cloth, into an instrument that sounds and rouses hearts.” Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa 1st Advent Sermon to the Papal Household
I want to share a one page pdf describing the "Brief Way" to pray the Catechism of the Catholic Church which I created not too long ago. My wife and I have tried praying with the Catechism this way, and we love it. It takes about five minutes. Download the pdf here.
Breathe the Faith
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, our Catholic faith entrusted to the Church by Jesus Christ, is not a salad - you don’t at as much as possible as quickly as possible hoping to finish full and soon.
The Catechism is more like a fine wine - sip it slowly, breathe it in, and let it marinate your palate.
Cardinal Arinze prayerfully reads one page from the Catechism every day during his time of prayer. If a Cardinal is praying with the Catechism on a regular basis, why shouldn’t you? Praying with the Catechism instead of reading right through it allows the precious faith of the Church to seep into our bones and water our soul. Feel free to adapt this or work it into your own pattern of prayer. This method of praying the catechism can be used for private prayer or for praying with others.
How to Pray the Catechism
This way of praying begins with the Sign of the Cross the source and summit of our faith, followed by the Apostle's Creed, a summary of our faith handed down to us through the centuries and the foundation of the first pillar of the Catechism. We then pray the Our Father, which Jesus teaches us as the disciples ask "Lord, teach us how to pray" and which is the basis of the fourth pillar of the Catechism. We then prayerfully read and meditate on one In Brief paragraph from the Catechism (if you aren't sure what those are, see my post on How to Use the Catechism) and then pray one Hail Mary, honoring and asking for the intercession of Mary Mother of the Church and our Faith. We wrap up this time of prayer by giving praying Glory Be to God, the Blessed Trinity and heart of the Catechism.
We read one In Brief and pray one Hail Mary a total of 5 times, which I found is just the right amount. But if you are feeling sassy, by all means don't let me stop you from praying all of them.
Why the In Briefs? For one thing they are on average shorter than the rest of the paragraphs in the Catechism. I found they are more succinct and easier to digest and meditate on. But if you are feeling doubly sassy, go ahead and pray with the rest of the catechism this way. You might want to cut down how many paragraphs you pray in one sitting though.
Download the pdf here and print out 700 copies to give to all dem Catholics you know, to stuff your Parish narthex with, and to slip inside all those Catechisms you bought recently graduated high school kiddos. Its completely free, just let people know where you got it from!
If you try praying the Catechism this way, let me know what you think. Its still a work in progress, and I would love to hear your feedback or suggestions about how to make it better.
"This Catechism is of historic importance. Depending on how seriously we take it, the future of the Catholic Church will be shaped accordingly." Fr. John Hardon