Father Andrew’s Little Catechism
Father Andrew Gentry’s Celtic Little Catechism
This catechism is in no way intended as a complete answer to the eternal questions posed by Faith and Life nor for that matter is it intended as a partial answer but rather it is an exploration and a statement of
belief as this poor Celtic Franciscan priest is given understanding and is born
of experience and pilgrimage that has been my cross to know. Remember always
the admonition of the Holy Apostle Paul that we see things through a broken
glass but someday face to face and also the words of Our Blessed Savior “there
are many more things that I could tell you but you could do bear to hear them”
in other words there is always much to learn about the Divine Embrace of Love
if we have but the open heart to hear and the open mind to learn.
Q. How did the cosmos come into being?
A. The cosmos was called into being and is sustained by Divine Design and Will.
Q. Is there Life on these planets and in these galaxies?
A. Though as of yet we cannot scientifically answer this we can be assured that God did not limit creation and sentient life only to our planet.
Q. How did God create life?
A. In the Infinite Wisdom of God all life forms including human beings came about through the evolutionary process which the Lord Almighty set in motion.
Q. How does this reconcile with the Bible story of Adam and Eve and the Seven Days of Creation?
A. The story in Genesis is a beautiful parable or myth by which ancient peoples explained the origins of the world and the cosmos as an action of God. It was not intended to be nor is it a scientific explanation. It
does not contradict science nor does science contradict it but rather it is two
different ways of explaining the Truth of our Creation and that of our
Q. Why did God create human beings?
A. God out of Love created human beings for companionship with and for him and each other and for and with all creation including the animals, fishes, birds, plants, and every form of life.
Q. Who or what is God?
A. As the Hebrew Scriptures exclaim and affirm “Hear O Israel the Lord Your God is One.” In God’s Oneness there is the Triune Nature of God or to put it another way God reveals himself in Three Persons, as the Eternal Father who Mothers us all in Love, as the Son who
Redeems us and is God made manifest as one of us for all always, and as the
Holy Spirit who sustains and reveals God to us in ways more numerous than the
sands of the seas. God is Love before time now and for ever unchanging and ever
present with us.
Q. Who is Jesus?
A. Jesus is Immanuel or in other words “God with us” He is one of us in all ways except that he did not sin, that is he did not miss the mark in living a fully human life in union and communion with God and people
and in fact with all of creation. Jesus is the Christ or as it is translated
“the Anointed One” and as such he is the Second Person the Redeemer of the
Triune God who Loved us enough that he became human.
Q. Why did Jesus die and who executed Jesus?
A,. Jesus died because the powers of the world that is status and wealth and position could not bear to see his face or except his love or to put it another way, the evil that destroys could not
accept the good that heals and forgives and liberates the human spirit from the
bondage of ignorance and self seeking. Sin would not allow the Person of Love
Incarnate to exist for long or so it thought. It was the Roman Authority that
acted upon behalf of the religious establishment of the day and time that
killed Jesus not the Jewish people or any other people but those who used
religion as a tool of oppression and subjugation.
Q. After Jesus was crucified what happened to him?
A. On the morning of third day, the day after Sabbath Jesus rose from the dead by the power of God and was seen first by Mary Magdalene and later by his disciples.
Q. Why did Jesus rise from the dead?
A. He rose so that death and separation would not have the last word and that by rising Love was and is victorious.
Q. When did he leave after his resurrection and why?
A. From earliest times the Great Tradition is that Jesus ascended to heaven forty days after his resurrection. He left yet did not leave us so that we might continue in his fellowship wherever and whenever we might
be in time and space. He did not leave us as orphans alone and without support
or embrace for he sent the Holy Spirit first to his Mother and disciples at the
feast of Pentecost and later to those who embraced and received him through the
gift of Baptism. This continues now and will continue to the end of time as we
Q. What is sin?
A. The word sin comes from the ancient Greek, which means to miss the mark. When we do evil and selfish and hateful things we miss the mark and the mark is our relationship to God each other and our selves and to
Q. How is that relationship restored?
A. The relationship is restored when we seek again the fellowship of God in Jesus Christ and through his Love we are make whole and with the help of the Holy Spirit we amend and direct our lives to be like the
life and love of Christ. We take responsibility for actions and ask to be
forgiven which God quite readily grants.
Q. What is the church?
A. Church is the gathering of the followers of Jesus the Christ.
Q. How is the church organized?
A. From the day when Jesus as the Scriptures say “breathed” on the disciples, which is another way of saying “commissioned” them or as we would say “ordained” them and gave to them the authority to preach the Gospel,
forgive sins, celebrate the Sacraments and shepherd his church by serving
everyone the Church came into being. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent”
and as the disciples who were sent by Jesus began to teach and preach and
celebrate the Sacraments to all people who were willing to listen and embrace
the Gospel and be baptized the church grew in number and variety of traditions
and ways of being community. The Apostles following the tradition that Jesus
gave them “breathed” on women and men to carry out service to the whole people
of God in concert with them not in superiority of rank or importance. The first
“order” that the Apostles created was that of deacon to assist them in helping
the people who were in need. Then the Apostles ordained women and men to follow
in their footsteps as pastors or bishops and later they ordained men and women
as elders to preside at the Lord’s Supper and to act as an extension of the
office of bishop. These elders were called presbyters from whence we get our
word priest. But again these were but three of the many ministries of the
people and were not hierarchical in nature or function but rather collegial and
communal. It is important to remember that Jesus Christ is the Shepherd and
bishops, presbyters and deacons are only sheep dogs to help guide and protect
and serve the People of God. No bishop is superior to another and indeed no
“order” is superior or more important than another. The Church is a family and
all her members are equal in dignity and value. The Church is Holy Catholic and
Apostolic, that is to say in reverse order, it is Apostolic because from Jesus
to his Apostles and from his Apostle to us, Catholic because it holds
everywhere and always to the essential doctrines that define who and what we
are as Christians defined in the Nicene Creed and is universal it its outreach
and diversity and Holy because it is the Bride of Christ not as an institution
is it holy but as the Bride of the Redeemer.
Q. What are the Sacraments?
A. Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual realities. There are three Gospel Sacraments that is to say sacraments that Jesus himself gave and gives to the Gathering of his followers:
Baptism which is done with water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit. In using these words we use the words that Christ told us
to use for this Sacrament. The second Gospel Sacrament is the Celebration of
the Lord’s Supper which Jesus commanded his followers to celebrate “in memory”
of him. The third Gospel Sacrament is that of “commissioning” or ordination of
servants for the community of Faith. In some traditions the Sacrament of
Absolution is considered a fourth Gospel Sacrament because Jesus told his
Apostles “who sins you forgive are forgiven and those you retain are retained”.
Other outward signs or sacraments the Gathering has developed include the
Blessing of the Union of two people in a committed and faithful relationship for
life. This sacrament does not depend on the gender of the two people but rather
on the commitment and covenant they hold sacred one to another. In addition
there is the Anointing of the Sick and Confirmation which is the blessing and
sealing of a person’s profession of faith in the Holy Spirit.
Q. Is Jesus truly Present in the Lord’s Supper
A. Yes, from the earliest days of the Church the Gathering of the People of God at the Table of the Lord recognized, believed and taught that Jesus was made manifest in the Breaking of Bread. Though there has been
many differing ways or rites and manner of celebration or liturgies the central
meaning has been and is the same. The Holy Spirit through the “office” or gift
or ministry of the bishop or presbyter changes the bread and wine so that it is
no longer just bread and wine but the Real Presence of Jesus. How this happens
and in what precise time or way we do or cannot say but rather as the People
gather and in unity with the Presiding Minister be he or she a bishop or
presbyter the Holy Spirit brings us into the Upper Room and we encounter in the
consecrated Bread and consecrated Wine the very Essence of Jesus Christ.
Q. Is there life after death?
A. Yes, Love would not tolerate death to have the final victory or answer and when Jesus rose from the dead so did we. After we die we, in the words of the old Anglican Prayer Book grow from grace to grace and from
strength to strength in new and unending life.
Q. Is there a Hell?
A. Sadly if a person chooses to be outside the fellowship of Love Eternal that is to say God, God does not force that person to accept his forgiveness and or invitation to rest and grow in him.
Q. What is the Communion of Saints?
A. It is what the Scriptures call “the Great Cloud of Witnesses” known and unknown who are linked to us and with us in Christ Jesus.
Q. Why do we pray to the saints known and unknown?
A. Because they are Holy Friends who care for us not only in this life but in the life to come. They pray with us and for us even as our friends pray for us now in the here and now.
Q. Why do we hold Mary the Mother of Jesus in such reverence?
A. Because she was chosen and freely accepted to be the mother of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ and as such she was the holiest of people who loved her son even as our mothers love us. On the Cross Jesus gave
the care of his Mother to the Apostle John and in so doing he gave his Mother
to us all. She intercedes through her Son for us. St. Mary was a human being
with all the cares and sorrows of a human mother yet did not despair. She
suffered the pain of seeing her Son suffer terribly and die and later knew the
Joy of His Resurrection. The Holy Virgin cares for us as she cared for her son.
Q. Did Jesus have a human father/
A. No through the power of the Holy Spirit Mary conceived without intercourse. black””>St. Josephblack””> Mary’s husband was his and her guardian and he loved them as any husband and foster father would.
Q. Who are the Holy Angels?
A. They are spiritual beings that serve God and protect us. Every person has a Guardian Angel. Jesus taught this to us is in the Gospels.
Other Matters to consider.
Remember that all of Creation is a gift from God to each of us. We must honour every living creature and every living thing as sacred. We must reverence all life be it the animals that are often are companions or the
trees and flowers that show us beauty. We must honour all people whether they
share our Faith or have no faith at all.
We should create in our homes a sacred circle to remind us of the Lords Presence and that of the Saints and Holy Angels.
We should pray often and observe silence to listen to the Heart of God.
We should celebrate and receive Holy Communion often.
We must confess to all that in the Kingdom of Heaven and in the Gathering of the Followers of Christ all people who so seek this fellowship are holy unto the Lord and that in Christ Jesus there is no distinction between
male and female, free or slave, gay, straight, bisexual ,or transgender.
Remember we all are pilgrims and we see in part and know in part but someday we shall see God face to face, and most importantly that regardless of how correct our belief
may be if we have not Love it is meaningless.
Glory be to God Father Son and Holy Spirit + + +
Father Andrew Gentry
All Saints and Sorts
This day the 12th of May 2009
- Posted in: Uncategorized