There is a particularly unnerving paragraph for catechists in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is paragraph 428 and it begins, “Whoever is called ‘to teach Christ’ …” The two paragraphs above it, 426 and 427, quote from Catechesi Tradendae and are very well known. This one is rarely seen quoted anywhere and is unique in what it teaches about the catechist.
Whoever is called “to teach Christ” must first seek “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus”; he must suffer “the loss of all things...” in order to “gain Christ and be found in him,” and “to know him and the power of his resurrection, and [to] share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible [he] may attain the resurrection from the dead” (CCC 428).
This paragraph quotes from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 3:8-11, which we will be examining; however, the context of the whole letter is significant because it gives us insight into St. Paul’s heart for what he writes in chapter 3. Though writing from prison, St. Paul is overflowing with gratitude, love, and joy: “I thank God in all my remembrance of you” (Phil 1:3); “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:8); “my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown” (Phil 4:1).