Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences and 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments.
LESSON FIRST On the End of Man 126-136
Q. 126. What do we mean by the “end of man”?
A. By the “end of man” we mean the purpose for which he was created: namely, to know, love, and serve God.
Q. 127. How do you know that man was created for God alone?
A. I know that man was created for God alone because everything in the world was created for something more perfect than itself: but there is nothing in the world more perfect than man; therefore, he was created for something outside this world, and since he was not created for the Angels, he must have been created for God.
Q. 128. In what respect are all men equal?
A. All men are equal in whatever is necessary for their nature and end. They are all composed of a body and soul; they are all created to the image and likeness of God; they are all gifted with understanding and free will; and they have all been created for the same end — God.
Q. 129. Do not men differ in many things?
A. Men differ in many things, such as learning, wealth, power, etc.; but these things belong to the world and not man’s nature. He came into this world without them and he will leave it without them. Only the consequences of good or evil done in this world will accompany men to the next.
Q. 130. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.
Q. 131. What does “world” mean in this question?
A. In this question “world” means the universe; that is, the whole creation; all that we now see or may hereafter see.
Q. 132. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.
Q. 133. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.
Q. 134. Does “man” in the Catechism mean all human beings?
A. “Man” in the Catechism means all human beings, either men or women, boys, girls, or children.
Q. 135. What is a creature?
A. A creature is anything created, whether it has life or not; body or no body. Every being, person, or thing except God Himself may be called a creature.
Q. 136. Is this likeness in the body or in the soul?
A. This likeness is chiefly in the soul.