Surprisingly, one of the most underutilized resources for Catholics is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It does make some sense though -- it has a pretty dry name and can be difficult to read. However, most people don't realize that it is incredibly rich with information, more resources and references, and beautiful explanations of even the most common Catholic beliefs.
Our main impression that we get from the Catechism every time we read from it is the vastness, depth, and beauty of the Catholic faith. We truly are one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church filled with centuries of tradition and wisdom dating back to Jesus.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called us to study the Catechism with passion and perseverance. He said we need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generations before us. But where do we begin? How do we unwrap the treasures of the faith without trying to read it like a book? (And possibly falling asleep very quickly while doing so . . .)
Well, thankfully we have this wonderful community inspiring us to dive into Scripture, and that's a perfect place to start. The history of how the Catechism came to exist is quite interesting, but the short version is that it was written by bishops literally all over the world. It was created with the intention to be accessible to various cultures and demographics, and much of it quotes Scripture as a reference.
As you read the Bible, try keeping a Catechism on hand. When you come across an interesting subject, theme, or word, I encourage you to look it up in the Catechism to see what the Church has to say about it. For example, when reading Colossians 3:18-21, many of us wonder exactly what it means. The subject matter of love and marriage as mentioned here tends to be controversial and used as a means of serving selfish motives. But what does the Catholic Church really teach about love and the sacrament of marriage? Likewise, when we encounter themes of purity, the Holy Spirit, and prayer, how does the Church encourage us to live these out?
The regular Catechism of the Catholic Church is really great, but if it's too dense and you're attracted to a more simple and lively way of saying things, we highly recommend the YouCat, or Youth Catechism. It is beautifully put together in an exciting format that can resonate with someone of any age. So dive in! The Catechism is awesome as a standalone resource but can be a huge help to understanding Scripture as well. Share your thoughts and discoveries with friends because there are hidden treasures that even the most catechized cradle Catholic will find new and inspiring.