Jesus is central to every aspect of the Catholic Church; this is what attracted me most. While there are many examples of this, I want to focus on the Mass and the Catechism.
When I first attended Mass in my mid-twenties, the very first thing that struck me about the liturgy was how the climax of the service was not in someone’s preaching, but in the Eucharist. The preaching is meant to lead into the climax of Communion. It is experiencing the true presence of Jesus Christ and communing with him. Wow! Before I became Catholic, I had heard a charismatic leader say that the church needs to be centered on the actual presence of God more than anything else. Little did I know that the Catholic Church has been centering the Mass on the literal presence of Christ for 2000 years.
Similarly, the Catechism exhibits the Christ’s central position in the Church. Catechesis refers to instruction or teaching. “‘At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father… who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever.’ To catechize is ‘to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfillment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ’s actions and words and of the signs worked by him.’ Catechesis aims at putting ‘people…in communion with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity’” (CCC, 426).
Even when talking about other topics, the Catechism has a way of centering everything on the Person of Jesus. For example, when discussing the Fall and the origin of evil the Catechism says in paragraph 385, “We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.”
There are many quotes from the Catechism that I could share in reference to the centrality of Jesus Christ. I have not even scratched the surface of this topic, but it’s been burning in me for quite some time so I just had to write this letter to you. May you come to see Jesus at the center of all the Church’s life and teaching. May you center your whole self on the person of Jesus Christ.