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ApologeticsCatechism

Wandering in Wonderland

By August 13, 2021 3 Comments
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

In a world that has lost its mind—let alone its way—do you know where you are going? Can you help others get there as well?

“Would you tell me please which way I ought to walk from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to go,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” said the Cat. –Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865, but wow!—does it not pack a punch as a social commentary on the mess of a world we find ourselves currently living? It seems as if the average, peace-loving Catholic went out for a casual stroll, and somehow whammo!: we got sucked into a wonderland where mad Hatters, tyrannical Queens, and stoned Caterpillars are the standard and accepted fare.

Cultural norms and taboos have changed so much in the past five years, let alone the last generation, that as Catholics we often find our long-held beliefs to be dismissed as archaic and therefore irrelevant. Worse yet, our time-honored traditions and values are not simply being marginalized, but, with growing frequency, they are actually being criminalized. Some of us have even wondered, “How long it will be before I am criminalized,” simply for calling myself Catholic? Perhaps even more heartbreaking than that is the sinking revelation that our young—our very own children and grandchildren—might very well be the ones to lock us away as social misfits or do away with us altogether. After all, they have all too often swallowed the potion and found the “wonderland” to be a “wonderful land.”

What is a concerned Catholic to do? First, step-up the prayer and fasting. Some demons can only be dealt with thus. Second, enroll in the Catechetical School and devote yourself to studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Among a myriad of other things, the Catechism will equip the faithful student with an adequate understanding of what a worldview is and why a proper worldview is essential to a healthy society. It will also disclose why a Catholic worldview is superior to all others, particularly in that it is founded in the reality of the way things truly are.

Before going further, perhaps it would be helpful to pause a moment and consider a few things about what a worldview actually is. Essentially, a worldview is the lens through which one encounters and interprets the events and circumstances of one’s life. Worldviews define values; this is “good” and that is “bad.” Worldviews act as gateways as to what type of knowledge is permitted to be taken seriously: empirical science only, or does philosophy play a role as well? Worldviews determine whether or not one thinks life has inherent meaning and purpose: is my life worth living? is your life worth living? Worldviews also plot the trajectory of one’s life: may I walk anywhere or should I walk somewhere? If so where? Worldviews are so essential to the human condition that whether we know and/or admit it or not, everyone has a worldview and every decision one makes as a human flows forth from one’s worldview.

This is why a study of the Catechism is so important. It will disclose who we truly are, where we come from, what it means to be human, and what our telos is (Greek for “end” or “purpose”; our destiny). In doing so, it will speak as to how we ought to live and give convincing arguments as to why we should live that way.  Best of all, especially as it concerns our loved ones who have fallen away or have never taken up the way, a study of the Catechism will equip us with a language to engage the “wonderland” all around us. In other words, it will not only help us to walk more intentionally to our heavenly homeland, but it will provide us the means to effectively invite others to join us on our journey. The world stopped listening to teachers long ago. However, those whose very lives bear witness to a certain confidence, a stalwart joy, and the reason for such things, are difficult to ignore. The Catechism, therefore, just may be the thing you need to win back souls who have lost their way.

So what are you waiting for? Find out when the next information session is, or check out our YouTube channel and listen to a testimony from a former student or watch a free sample class online and learn more about how you can become a student of the Catechetical School. Do it for yourself. Do it for your God. Do it for the love of the world around you. With God’s grace we can direct this nation towards being a “land of His wonders” as He desires it to be.

Anthony Gallegos

Anthony Gallegos

Born and raised Catholic (thanks mom and dad!), Anthony Gallegos is a native of Denver, Colorado. He attended the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and earned a B-Phil from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. After successfully discerning that he was not called to the priesthood, Anthony married, began a family and graduated from the Augustine Institute with a Masters in Theological Studies. He has served various parishes in various capacities in the Archdiocese of Denver. He joined the Catholic Catechetical School in 2015 and is glad to be “back home again” working out of the same seminary that started his love of studying and teaching the faith.

3 Comments

  • Mary Gorman says:

    I completed the Catholic Biblical School in 2015, and tell everyone it was lifechanging. I also took Apologetics and Art History, Enrichment courses with no homework. So, I am contemplating taking the Catechetical School Ladder of Ascent class. The reason I haven’t taken it yet is that I was “force fed” the Baltimore Catechism back in the 50’s. As preparation for our First Holy Communion, we had to memorize the answers and were questioned by our pastor, Msgr. Thorpe in the church, St. Patrick’s West Park, Cleveland. I remember being called on once and knew the answer. Basically, we were second graders shaking in the pews hoping we would hear the question and know the answer or just not be called on at all!

  • Anthony Gallegos says:

    Hi Mary,
    You should totally take the Ladders of Ascent class and this for two reasons. First, some of the teaching tactics have changed since the days of rote memory from the Baltimore Catechism. If you are like many others, that style may have left you with a good number of disconnected “car parts” but no actual functioning car. With the Ladders of Ascent class we study the Catechism of the Catholic Church from cover to cover and discover that, like the Sacred Scriptures, there is a narrative thread that pulls everything together in one cohesive, comprehensible and meaningful whole. In other words you get a fully “functioning car” to drive around in. The second reason that you should take the Ladders class is that not only will you have a competent guide to help maneuver you around the CCC, but you will also have an ADULT peer group with adult questions and adult experiences to add to and mingle with your own adult ponderings. This makes for a full and fun experience that is unmatched. Hope to see you in class soon!

  • Mary Gorman says:

    Thank you. Your article is brilliant, Anthony. I do have the Catechism and referred to it during 4 years of Biblical School and especially Apologetics. I do know it is completely different than what I was taught as a child, but 2 more years is a big commitment and I am trying to sell my house. God bless. .

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