God is the creator of heaven and earth
This podcast is packed. A highlight of this episode is the process around animating imagery for the Trinity. And learn about the Real+True project being presented to the Vatican. Take a listen!
This podcast is packed. A highlight of this episode is the process around animating imagery for the Trinity. And learn about the Real+True project being presented to the Vatican. Take a listen!
[00:10] Introduction + Overview of Episode
The Thesis of Unit 6 is “God is the Creator of Heaven and Earth” and covers Catechism sections 232-421. This Unit has three videos: Proclamation: The Mystery of Life, Explanation: The Story of Creation, Connection: Your story and THE story.
[04:24] Proclamation: Wonder and Awe
Emily shares her experience of wonder at creation, and how a course through UC Berkeley, encountering nature in the Midwest, and Planet Earth have shaped her heart to wonder at the world around her. Emily dissects the difference between awe and shame. Creation is complicated but humility helps us find our place within the huge diversity, vastness, and beauty of what God has made.
[11:30] Standout Section of the Catechism: Edmund and Emily’s Favorite Passages
Emily was most moved by Catechism 384: “Revelation makes known to us the state of original holiness and justice of man and woman before sin: from their friendship with God flowed the happiness of their existence in paradise.” Emily loved this section because it reminds her that God created us for peace and justice. Edmund’s stand-out section was Catechism 286: “Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear’” Edmund was moved because this statement honors man’s dignity, that our intellects can find God through creation.
[17:10] Animating the Mystery of the Trinity:
Edmund shares wisdom from a theology professor. Emily shares an insight for the animation behind images of the Trinity in the Real + True videos. The challenge to capture visually what we believe about the Trinity resulted in the kaleidoscope imagery.
[20:53] Shoutout to A Podcast Listener:
Our listeners (that’s YOU) play an important part in making the Catechism come to life. In this section, Emily shares feedback we received from a listener. The listener shared that Real + True is being used at his parish for those considering baptism and entering the Catholic Church.
[21:33] The Story Mechanism: the Explanation Video
Emily shares that there is much more to the creation story than she knew. Edmund shares about how in his childhood he did not understand that his life was part of the larger story of creation. Edmund references good storytelling in movies, and how God is the best storyteller.
[24:44] The Connection Video: Your story and THE story
The film Noah is used as an example of how important storytelling is. The analogy used in the Connection video is explained in more depth. Edmund tells us that Catholic doctrines and teachings can often seem like disconnected beads but the power of storytelling is that it threads the beads of our beliefs together to create a unified understanding of Creation. The readings at the Easter Vigil are a powerful experience of encountering the story of Creation and Salvation.
[32:37] A Catechism Game
Emily challenges Edmund by choosing “random” parts of Catholicism and asks him to relate it back to “the story” of salvation. Edmund shares how the Sacrament of Confirmation is tied to “the story.” The bigger picture of our lives of faith are discussed.
[35:00] Updates and Closing:
This January, the Real + True project was shared with several Vatican offices. There was a lot of excitement and questions about this global project. The universal nature of the Catechism was felt throughout this experience. Did you know the Catechism has been published in braille? Real + True will be visiting several religious educators conferences as well as partnering with FOCUS and the Augustine Institute. Thanks for listening.
Edmund: Hi everyone. And welcome back to the Real + True podcast. I’m your host Edmund Mitchell.
Emily: And I’m your host, Emily Mentock.
Edmund: This podcast is for us to discuss the unit of videos in more detail to dive deeper into the content and to share a bit of the behind the scenes of the mission and vision of Real + True.
Emily: And we’re really excited in this podcast episode to be discussing Unit 6. So if you haven’t seen the Unit 6 videos yet, we definitely encourage you to check those out by following us real_plus_true, on YouTube, or you can check it out at our website, realtrue.org.
Edmund: This is a great unit. Emily, do you want to tell us a little bit, each unit has a thesis and then three videos and we covers a section of the Catechism. So maybe you can give us an overview of that.
Emily: Yeah. So Unit 6: the thesis is “God is the creator of heaven and earth.” So this came from the section of the Catechism paragraphs 232-421, um, where we the Catechism dives into believing in God, the Father as creator of heaven and earth. And we’ve broken this down in our, you know, usual sort of based on the ecclesial method structure of videos with our proclamation video, which is called the “Mystery of Life”, the explanation video, “The Story of Creation”, and then our connection video, which “Your Story and The Story” emphasis on the “the”. So definitely again, go check that out if you haven’t.
Edmund: Awesome. And just to remind people, I like to remind them of where we are in the Catechism. So we’re on the first pillar, which is the creed, which breaks down the apostles creed. So, you know, um, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth,” this is a, it’s a big section. I mean, it’s a lot, this is our first section that I’ve felt like that covered so many different topics. And so it was a challenge to focus in like, what are we gonna focus in on, in these three short videos?
Emily: Definitely. It has one of those sections that had those really big picture themes that led to us really having to like workshop of visual for the Trinity, cuz it was like probably the most we were, are really starting to dive into the Trinity. But then also there’s a section on like angels because you’re talking about creation, where do angels fit into that? Um, and so even though the angels doesn’t make it into explicitly into the script, um, that’s why we always encourage people to go back to and check out the actual Catechism, read what it says for this section and get inspired and learn from that as well. Um, because we’re really diving in here.
Edmund: Yeah. The topics that this section covers here, just to give you a taste: God is the Trinity, the creator, creation, original sin, divine Providence, angels, the creation of Adam and Eve, body and soul, gender, heaven. It talks about original sin, Providence. How does God interact with, did God create evil or not? I mean, it’s a massive section in terms of the number of topics that are packed in there.
Emily: Yeah. It’s so interesting that even though it’s such a huge section of the Catechism that covers so many different things, I actually felt like for the topic of the proclamation video, basically, how do you get people to ask the question that the Catechism has answers to was actually one of our most just like it was one of the easiest ones to come up with. So this proclamation video is all about the mystery of life, um, and, and diving into how life is so mysterious and uh, how life is very awe inspiring for so many people.
Edmund: Yeah. And when you talk about life in particular, we’re talking about like all of creation, you know, God is the creator.
Emily: Yeah. Not just like, like human beings alive or dead, but like all organisms.
Edmund: So God is the creator of heaven and earth. God is, like we’re creatures and creation is all the non creature type stuff. Right? Well, no, creation’s everything, creation is creation.
Emily: Creation is like everything it’s like the stars, like the things we don’t understand, the the universe that’s constantly expanding is like somehow also creation and it’s a total mystery. Right. And at the macro level of like, man, how could this all be created by God, but also even like the micro level of even understanding, like what’s the difference between an alive cell and a dead cell? You know, do we even know the answer to that question?
Edmund: Yeah. And, and what’s great is, you know, science really comes from this wonder and awe at creation and how does it work and how is it all put together in this fascination with the world? Kind of like your friend, Nicole who’s in this video and the word actually biology means the study of life, the study of things that are living or creation in general. And so I really love this video. And you in particular, Emily, have a particular fascination with the world.
Emily: I do not in the same amazing, scientific way that Nicole does, but I really am so inspired by creation. Well, first of all, I find it hard to believe that there are people who like, when they’re driving down a road, maybe this is like the Midwest girl in me coming out. But like they’re driving down a road and you see like the sun, you know, like poking through the clouds in this beautiful way. Like how do you not believe in God in that moment? Or like when you’re seeing anything beautiful in nature? I remember as a kid being fascinated by like little ants or whatever in our backyard. And like, or like big, big things. Like I visited the Pacific ocean this summer. Like, man, it just, it’s so hard for me personally, at least to not be very, like, just feel that wonder in awe.
And I remember this was a couple years ago, I got really into trying to understand the science of happiness and UC Berkeley had this online course that anyone could sign up for to better understand the science of happiness. And I took it and it kind of broke down all these pillars of happiness and one of them, the key ones was awe. And I realized that you could sort of like trigger awe by watching things like, uh, the BBC Planet Earth series. So I started this habit and continuing to this day that if I need to pick me up, and need some happiness, I will go and watch Planet Earth because it does inspire something. And one of the things that’s interesting, I think it really aligns with like a Catholic understanding of creation is that, um, the science of happiness course said that awe the difference between awe and shame, because they both kind of make you feel small.
Um, but like in shame you feel like small in like a negative way. And in awe you feel small without feeling like worthless, basically. Like you can still feel like you’re worth, even if you feel small in this vast world. And I feel like when you try and stop and think about know, God is the creator of the heavens and the earth and then how can God care about me? Like this one person or this tiny ant or fruit fly, uh, then you, you really do get a sense of this like incomprehensible vastness without feeling worthless because of how we know God created us to be.
Edmund: Yeah. It’s interesting. It makes me think of humility. A lot of people think humility is just thinking less of yourself, but it’s actually just knowing exactly where you stand in the universe. And when you’re talking about awe, it’s kind of, you’re in awe at how small you are, but you also realize that you’re a part of it
Edmund: Whereas shame is like, uh, you know, uh, selfishness is, it’s thinking too much of your yourself. Right. And making yourself self yourself centered. Right. As opposed to humility, which just thinking of yourself less, but not thinking less of yourself.
Emily: No, I mean that’s how a lot of us experience these things. But for this video, we did have the opportunity to talk with my friend, Nicole, who took that wonder and awe to the next level, by getting her PhD in biology. Yeah. Um, I met Nicole through a Bible study that I was in back where I was living before I moved to Detroit. So I was living in Southbend, Indiana and Nicole was finishing her PhD and doing research, um, on fruit flies. Okay. And she’ll joke about it on her own.
Edmund: We cut out like 20 minutes of fruit fly content out of the interview,
Emily: Which is wonder wonderful. Because it’s like, again, the macro of awe and then the micro, like how can you be in so wonder in awe of like this particular series of fruit fly that she did her like dissertation in. Um, but it’s, she took that study of science, and as a Catholic and kind of married those two and had this really beautiful outlook on the mystery of life, the mystery of creation, which was perfect for this video.
Edmund: Yeah. I think it’s so cool how in science, you really get a sense of how complicated creation is and you can either look at it and say, wow, we must be meaningless floating on a rock in the middle of nowhere. This just all doesn’t make sense. Or you can look at it and go man, this is the awe that you’re talking about. Like an awe of God. And Nicole really shows that. I mean, she’s so fascinated by how at every point, the more they learn about fruit flies, they realize that they really don’t know a whole lot. And I think that’s so interesting, like the infinite depth of truth and knowledge and awe that we can have, um, at creation. So this video, we kind of talked about how in biology, you know, the, the field is the study of life. And Nicole said, you know, for the most part, biologists might have a general consensus or idea or grasp of what life is. But actually when you try to define life, that’s when it starts getting kind of vague and hairy. And that’s what this video focused on. It’s like, man, well, life really is this great mystery. The difference between a living thing and a dead thing is a little more complicated than we thought.
Emily: Yeah. And I think that in the proclamation series, we really try and tackle things from a universal perspective. And I think that everybody has to ask the question, you know, where did it all come from? How did like, what put me here? What is the order of the world? And, um, and it was one of the most perfect questions I think that we could come up with for the Catechism to answer with God as the creator of heaven earth as the answer and explaining what that means.
Edmund: Yeah. And the idea of generating life or having control over life is a really old idea. You think of, um, in different myths or fountains of youth, or you have the Frankenstein story right. Of this scientist trying to master life and create life on his own. And all of these, it’s not, it’s not a new idea or fascination like this power of bringing life into existence is something that’s very mysterious that none of us really have control over other than procreating. But we can’t bring something dead back to life in the same way that Jesus did.
Emily: And the expansion of science has just been people asking more and more questions and yes, finding some answers in those, but also finding even more questions that they wanna ask.
Edmund: Yeah. There was, in the research we did, there was a lot of really interesting stuff on this. I also recommend, just because I went through so much research, looking up the definition of death. So the definition of life is really interesting. The definition of death has changed throughout the decades. First, it was like, um, lacking any breath. Then it was lacking a pulse. Then it was lacking brain wave function. And now we’re getting more and more into this. Like man, sometimes people come back from these weird situations, at what point are you actually dead? And so it’s a great mystery. It’s really, it’s really fascinating.
Emily: Yeah. And something that the video does well is expanding it again, even beyond human beings. Like what’s the difference between an alive and a dead broccoli, right? And, and it just really makes you stop and think like, even if you think you’re starting to define that for humans, that is just one small part of like creation as a whole.
Edmund: Yeah. And as a Christian, we have this understanding that in things that are alive, there’s some type of immaterial life force or what we might call a spirit or a soul, not that broccoli’s have souls in the same way we do, but there’s some life forces there that when it dies, that goes away and something changes.
Emily: Yeah. It’s fascinating. And there’s like you said so much to unpack in this section.
Edmund: Okay. So can we move on to your and my favorite part of the podcast, the stand out Catechism paragraph where we encourage people to pick their favorite paragraph and comment it somewhere in one of the videos. Um, and we each pick our favorite paragraph. So we encourage people to read through and pray through the section of the Catechism with us and to pick out one, to really focus on and, and meditate on. Um, would you like to go first or me?
Emily: Sure. I will go first this time. Okay. Um, normally you do, but I’ll, I’ll tackle it. So my one that stood out to me again, there’s like so much in the section is so hard to choose. So, but I’m gonna go with 384. Which is getting kind of past the life question and into more of like man and woman and creation of Adam and Eve and fall and all those things. But 384 says “Revelation makes known to us the state of original holiness and justice of man and woman before sin. From their friendship with God flowed the happiness of their existence and paradise.” And here’s why that stood out to me because I think sometimes like we lose grasp of like the reality of what that like original created world was like and what it was like for them. And so, um, I’ve shared a bit on the podcast before, about how diving into the Catechism has really just like, it’s totally opened like my eye, for diving in the Catechism, even just for the sake of this project, separate from how I studied it before, has really just like opened my faith and like been bringing new truths to life.
Like let they’ve sunk in, in a different way. And for this, this one’s really stood out to me because it was like revelation makes known to us. And we’ve talked a lot in different units about how do we know things about the truth of our faith? …The state of like the original holiness and happiness and the justice of their world. And just realizing that like, oh yeah, like, wow, we can really know that there was truth in the reality of that existence. And it’s not just like this tale, like of creation that has this nice, happy beginning. Yeah. And so that one really, when I got to it, um, even though we don’t tackle, I guess we do tackle the fall in a way in the video, but this one just stood out to me as like, man, something to know and let, let that sink in in a way that it hadn’t before.
Edmund: Yeah. We don’t talk enough, I think, and again, this isn’t bad, but I think when we’re normally talking to people, uh, we try to shy away from saying “you’re broken and messed up and you need someone to fix you.” Right? And so we don’t often take enough time to say actually, and meditate on the fact that like, no, no, no. Like before the fall, Adam and Eve were spectacular, like their, like their intellect and their will were not marred by original sin. And so there was a very different experience of, you know, before original sin that we will not experience until we have our resurrected bodies or we’re in heaven.
Emily: So, yeah. And just like the justice of their world.
Edmund: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so it’s not just like, I think we think a lot about the morality in the sense of like, okay, there’s a judge who said something I did was wrong, but no, it affected everything like, like death entered the world, things could die. I, um, their intellect was marred. Their will, their ability to choose was changed. So now we struggle with concupiscence. We struggle with the temptation in a different way than Adam and Eve did. Adam and Eve could just choose to do the good, like they could just choose it. Like I choose to do it. And then I struggle after like 30 minutes. Right. But like Adam Eve were, could, were able to just perfectly choose without any real struggle. Now they chose with their freedom to sin. But it was it was just a very different experience of your body and life, um, that we won’t experience in until resurrection. I think we forget about that. We forget about that. And that’s a part of the Gospel message is that Jesus is gonna give us that back.
Emily: Yeah, I definitely, yeah. I guess it was, did I like forget it? Did I never know it? I don’t know. But something about that reality of like that part of creation before the fall was just like, man, I need to stop and think about that and pray about that more in this section. But what about you? What was your favorite?
Edmund: My favorite was paragraph 286. So I’m gonna read it. It’s a little long here, but it says, “Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins (meaning like the origin of everything, the origin of humans) The existence of God, the creator can be known with certainty through his works, (meaning how he’s created things and how he works in the universe and in creation.) But, and we can know this by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm an enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth. ‘By faith, we understand that the world was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things, which do not appear. ” So what I love about this is especially this, our Catholic worldview.
I mean, the truth is that we can come to some knowledge of God without anyone else telling us anything. I mean, like when you really think about that, it’s such a, it’s such an honoring of the dignity of the human person to say, Hey, look, before I even tell you the Gospel message, like look around and you can come to a pretty confident understanding that there could be a God. And then it’s what revelation does, faith is elevates it beyond what we could have possibly imagined. So like Greek philosophers or, or a philosopher or someone sitting around thinking and looking at the world can say, well, I think, I think a pretty confidence, something like God exists. And then Jesus comes in and tells you this, like gives you this peak into the craziness of how God works. But I think a lot of us that have heard Christianity from a young age, we’re just used to words like Trinity, Jesus is God’s son.
We’re used to all these things, but it’s crazy peek in like behind the curtain that we never could have just come up with on our own. Like, we couldn’t have just like, I mean, maybe we could have invented it. Like, I don’t know, but, but it would’ve been very, very difficult for us to imagine God is three persons, but one, God, they’re all equal, but they’re not separate, but they are distinct. Like, it’s just crazy to think about. But I love that “both/and.” We can come to some knowledge of God and then God elevates that knowledge through faith and revelation.
Emily: Yeah. I think if we were gonna be the ones inventing it, we would’ve like come up with something simpler.
Edmund: Yeah. Something simpler.
Emily: Instead of this great history. Yeah. Like which people did for a lot of years. Right? Like there was plenty of gods that were like kind of invented and people used like that to make sense of the world, but none of them are like the God that we have revealed to us.
Edmund: Yeah. And a lot of the gods from the ancient world, they really reflected humans more than they did like gods. Like they, they had emotions, they had tempers and granted the God of the Old Testament does have these emotions. And he is like us in some ways. But also he’s very, very unlike us in a way that’s very hard to even picture in our heads. Like, um, I remember a theology professor when we were studying the Trinity. He’s like, now look, when we’re reading this, you have to just read it and not try to imagine it because you can’t imagine it like the Trinity. You can’t imagine there’s no visible symbol of the Trinity. That makes sense.
Emily: Which is why it was pretty challenging to come up with an animation that would inspire like both like, or reflect the truth that we do, you know, know that’s like in the Catechism. Um, but also inspire the like mystery and awe of the Trinity that, you know, we know exists. And so we had to really workshop for the explanation video. We’ve spent a couple weeks on it, you know, what is the Trinity, how do we show the Trinity? We’ve mentioned it a few times in the video or in, in previous units. And we’ve used sort of like that, like the figure of the Godhead of a a Cross and of a dove to represent the Holy Spirit. And I think that’s fine. I mean, it’s totally, it’s probably one of the best reflections we can come up with for the most part.
But for this video, for this unit, we did wanna have something different. So we came up with this sort of like kaleidoscope looking thing. And the reason we kind of were inspired by that just a bit of behind the scenes for the animation of the, the explanation video, because the kaleidoscopes, as you turn them, as you try and look through them, as you try as you’re like, kind of like working through it, like, it almost seems like they’re like almost like unfolding endlessly, right? Like it gives this infinite vibe. You can kind of make out the picture of like the scene that you’re looking toward, but also it just like, it moves and unfolds endlessly too. So the Trinity is not like a kaleidoscope, but we did get inspired by that image as a way to like, again, bring in the mystery to talking about the truths that we do know from the deposit of faith.
Edmund: Yeah. You guys did such a good job with that. And I think, especially for people that are listening of the podcast, some of the little Easter eggs, like it’s worth going back, like, guys like Emily, you put a lot of thought into the visuals. So if you go back and kind of with a catechist eye or, or if you try to pay some attention to some of the visuals and ask yourself, like, why did we put this in this place? Or why did we shape it this way? Or why did it come on screen when it did? Um, you can really even get more out of the videos than you might the first time you watch ’em,
Emily: It’s definitely a fun challenge to work on them. Um, and this video is interesting too, um, for the explanation video because, um, we kind of use a story mechanism. So maybe you can talk a little bit about that.
Edmund: Yeah. Are we skipping over our, do we wanna give a shout out to Jim Lowe?
Emily: Oh yes. Before we move on Father Jim.
Edmund: Oh, it’s Fr. Jim?
Emily: Fr. Jim. Yeah. He’s a pastor here in the Metro Detroit area. Um, and so Fr. Jim commented on one of our videos. So we wanted to thank him and give him a shout out too, he said, “Praise the Lord. So exciting FYI. We have been using Real + True for those considering baptism at St. Scholastica.” So good. That’s awesome. So it’s really just super inspiring to see the way that, uh, the videos are being used for those who are preparing to enter the Church.
Edmund: Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. Okay. So you asked me a question you wanted to know.
Emily: I said, yes. The the story mechanism for the explanation video.
Edmund: Yeah. So, um, we talked about how all good stories have a beginning, middle and an end, which I mean, duh, um, and talked about how there is THE story of everything. And in this video, we talk about how THE story has a beginning, middle and an end. But also there’s before the beginning, right before everything was created, God just was, uh, and then we kind of walk through that a little bit. We walked through what it means that God created everything in the beginning with a purpose. Um, he created us for him. So God created man and woman for union with him. And then that union was broken through original sin, but God didn’t leave us abandoned. He even in Genesis 3:15, um, he’s already preparing to save us from this breaking of the union, right. The breaking of that, um, original state that we were in.
Uh, and then Jesus is sent to reconcile us to the Father, but then that’s not the end of the story actually, we’re in the last part of the story. We’re, we’re kind of in, not the end times, but we’re in the, we’re in the part of the story that is the Church waiting for Jesus to come back and judge the living in the dead. Um, but we’re in the Church times, we’re in the time of the Holy Spirit. Um, so I’m really passionate about, I’m glad that we were able to cover this section kind of in this way with, with the idea of a story and in the connection video, we’ll talk even more about that. But for me growing up, like, I didn’t know the story, I didn’t know that there was a story. I just knew that there was a lot of stuff. And I don’t know if that was your experience growing up.
Emily: Yeah. I was almost like either like an oversimplified story right. Of the story of creation and then Jesus came and then like we had heaven like, like that was then the end or like, yeah, like this ongoing thing that never was really tied together, but I mean, there’s so much more to the creation story than it being just the beginning, like you said, like the things that are happening there, like are setting the stage for the whole story that’s to come, it’s not just starting it. And I think that was really fun to kind of explore and work through in the scripts that the thesis of “God is the creator of heaven, and earth” doesn’t just mean that God set things in motion, but that like, he is the creator of heaven and earth today and tomorrow. And for every single second that we’re in existence, not just like the way it kicked off the story.
Edmund: Yeah, exactly. You know, those movies where something at the beginning ends up coming back, it’s checkoffs gun, right? Like at the, at the end of the movie, the thing comes back and that’s kind of part of the whole ending, like, like, because God is the creator of heaven and earth and because of who he is, we know the end. We know if God created everything, he created it for a purpose and that goodness and truth and beauty and love they win in the end. And we don’t often talk about the end. A lot of times, I know I was this way when I was younger, I just thought, I mean I wasn’t thinking about the end. I was thinking about the present. I was thinking about me like, there’s all this story that leads up to me. And now it’s about me. And no it’s about, there is an end. There is more to the story that I can be a part of.
Emily: Yes. Which kind of leads into the connection video, which is presenting, you know, what’s called your story and the story. And it kind of says like, okay, “Where do we, and the story of our lives fit into this larger, most important story of the world?”
Edmund: Yeah. So there’s, have you seen the movie Noah with, uh, Russell Crow?
Emily: I haven’t seen it… with Emma Watson too, right? I haven’t seen it, but I know the movie.
Edmund: It’s very good. Uh, it has some weird parts in it, but there’s this part I really love. So Noah’s really wrestling with, he’s trying to convince his family to get on this boat. There’s people that get left behind and Noah’s really wrestling with justice because this is before Jesus and this idea of mercy, he just knows, okay. God’s told me to get on this boat, man has become wicked and evil. There are some wicked and evil people that are getting left behind and he convinces his family to get on this boat. And then as soon as the doors shut and then the waters rise and they’re out at sea, he gathers his children around and he, he says, “Let me tell you the story.” And you can tell it’s such a beautiful, I mean, it’s a, like two to three minutes where he tells the story and he says, it’s the story I told you when you were young, it’s the story I’ve told you all the time.
You can tell that this is a story that’s been told often. And in this moment, what you might miss is that he knew it was an important moment to tell the story that like this action and everything that was happening, like tie into this bigger story. And he tells the story of creation. He says in the beginning it was formless. And it’s like one of the coolest sequences of CGI and all this stuff, like the beginning, everything was formless. And then darkness was over the waters and then formation. I’m not gonna ruin it for you. Go look it up. But it’s really awesome. And, um, I think we, you know, this used to be part, part of, I mean, this is part of the Gospel message. This is part of our faith is that we are part of a big story, but I think in modern times, or just in general, we’ve kind of lost the idea that we’re part of a, a big story. Um, I don’t know. Do you, does your family have a lot of like family stories that you tell often?
Emily: You know, I wouldn’t say that we come from a family of storytellers, but I’m not a great story storyteller. Um, but I will say that, uh, Edmundo our other partner, he is a great storyteller. And so there’s even some stories that I’ve heard him say, you know, a couple times that like, I could even say it for him, not even because I’ve heard it a million times, but because he tells it in this like really compelling, repeatable way with a clear beginning, middle and end, like, this is just great sequence that like makes me understand how like oral history could be a thing. My family doesn’t have that gift. Uh, but in Edmundo definitely does.
Edmund: My pastor at my old parish, he used to tell us constantly, if I start telling a story, just put up a hand for and put up how many fingers for how many times you’ve heard the story.
And if everyone’s heard it more than once, then he won’t tell the story. So he he’d start going, “did you tell about when I was in Russia?” And if like a bunch of people put up two fingers, then he was like, okay, I’ve already told this story.
Emily: I’ve never heard that before.
Edmund: Yeah. So the, the big story is something, especially in an evangelizing catechesis, if we talk about catechesis, right? So passing on the faith in a way that evangelizes is like connecting it to the bigger story so that I’m invited to become part of it because we’re not part of the story. Well, we are part of the story, but we need to make an active decision to act and be a part of this story and to adopt this story into our lives. Right.
Emily: I was gonna say, we, I think we have to choose to be part of it, which is like, really goes against what most of us think and live our lives, especially before like an encounter with Jesus, because we, we think, you know, our lives are about us. We think that we are the story of our lives, but really the reason why I have to choose to be part of the story is because it’s not about me. Yeah. I have to choose to be part of the story that’s about Jesus.
Edmund: Yeah. A hundred percent. There’s one of my favorite analogies that we got to do in the video is I have this big pile of beads and they’re kind of going everywhere. And I’m saying, you know, when I was growing up, I got taught the faith. And by the end of, you know, whatever Sunday school, after however many years of Sunday school, I just had this big pile. And like, here’s a beat on the Eucharist. Here’s a beat on the priesthood. Here’s a beat on the death penalty. Here’s a beat and they’re just all disconnected stuff. And if you ask a lot of people that were, you know, maybe taught the faith, growing up, that’s kind kind of how it was taught. It was just disconnected. Like I just know a bunch of stuff. If you ask me, I could tell you that on Fridays in Lent, we don’t eat meat.
I don’t know why. I don’t know what that has to do with anything. I just know that that’s a thing or Catholics don’t use contraceptives. I don’t know why. I know that’s a thing. Um, and so we talk about putting a thread, putting all the beads onto this thread. And so there is a narrative thread and story that ties all those things together. And then it makes all of them make sense because you’re, you’re able to understand them in light of the main story, the story of God’s loving goodness. Um, in the story that we kind of tell in the explanation video, and that we tell again, in the connection video, it’s not like we just made this up. There is a story. And a lot of times we were poorly catechized. So people didn’t draw out the story for us.
But in fact, one good example of this is at Easter Mass. They have all those long reading, right? While all those long readings kind of follow this story, they kind of set it up. And I think if you hear the story, especially in the connection video, you’ll be able to start hearing it in different places. You’ll hear it. Um, in different prayers, you’ll hear it in the creed. You’ll hear it in the Bible or in yeah, just different, like different sacraments and stuff. You’ll hear this story kind of echoed once you get the general gist of it.
Emily: And I think that Catechism, one of the things it does so well and what I’ve loved about working with it more is that all those teachings, those beads, those dogmas, whatever they are like, it does bring them into this interconnected woven story that has like the core truth, like always pointing back to Jesus back to God, back to our relationship with Jesus and God. And there is no like standalone dogma or Church teaching that doesn’t fit in into that story in the book. And I love that about the Catechism.
Edmund: Yeah. So I mean, the major theme of this story is that we’re made for union with God. So God is Trinity and he’s a communion of persons and we’re made to participate in that. God created creation and man, and woman to share that divine life of God. That union has been ruptured due to original sin. But God, the father sends his son to save us and restore us to that union. He saves us through his death and resurrection. Um, and then he leaves us the Church to dispense that saving mystery into us and to, to save us through the Church and the sacraments, and then the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit through the Church and into us to guide us in this life to give us the power to live this life. Um, and now we’re waiting for the end of time for God to come back and judge living in the dead in the end of everything. Right. Um, so that’s kind of like a very quick, cuz we don’t have a ton of time, but overview quick version of the story.
Emily: But I think it’s a good practice and exercise to go back to that story. Yeah. And you know, and like never let ourselves get too lost in the weeds that we lose sight of the story.
Edmund: Yes. And there’s once you start, I mean, I know this is a lot for one idea, but once are really studying this and, and making it part of the way you think about everything. I mean, just imagine, you know, if you have kids or if you’re talking to other people, it just starts becoming the way you relate everything back to the story. So we were gonna try to play this game where you just throw out a random doctrine and I will put on my catechist hat and try to relate it back to the story because you can do this with any doctrine or any part of the deposit of faith. It’s all connected to the story. So we’ll see if I, if this makes sense, I hope this makes sense to our listeners. You can let us know the comments.
Emily: Okay, great. Here, here comes one. Um, the doctrine of Confirmation why is that a thing?
Edmund: Okay. Confirmation. So we were made for union to be United with God, right? Yes. This is participation. You’re supposed to participate.
Emily: Yes. Yes. Like be like the student in your Catechist classroom.
Edmund: Yes. So, um, we’re saved by that through baptism, the sacrament that God gave us through baptism and in baptism, we’re given the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus doesn’t want to just give us that saving grace and, and have that indwelling of us. He wants to stir that up and send us out to be missionaries, to be alive in the Spirit, to be out in the world. Right. And so Confirmation is kind of this experience of Pentecost. So there’s grace already there in baptism, but through Confirmation, it’s the stirring up of Pentecost. So what happened is we have, we’re made for union. Original sin breaks us from that. Through baptism that union, we have this saving of that union. And then the same Spirit that in Jesus, the Holy Spirit, that’s in Jesus that empowered him to, to live and move and perform miracles is the same Spirit that’s stirred up in us in Confirmation, the same Spirit at Pentecost that was then sent out into the Church, like the Holy Spirit’s sent out. And so we’re living in this age of Pentecost, of the Holy Spirit. And that’s what the Sacrament of Confirmation does. It stirs that up so we can and live in the life in the divine life of God. Now we can start experiencing it here on earth. Is that good enough? Gimme like a grade. Boom.
Emily: A+. I don’t even remember what like exactly like how Confirmation was explained to me. I knew we were like, it was like Holy Spirit, 2.0 or something. That simple tie it to the story, I think that, that gives it a different meaning than having to just memorize this section of the Catechism and what it says about Confirmation, for Confirmation prep. So, well, this has been great. We wanna end before we end, we wanna share some exciting updates. So one is, we had the privilege of going to Rome at the end of January and, um, were able to share this project, the Real + True project, and the fact that it’s a global project in multiple languages, um, with a couple of different offices there. So we met with the dicastery for communications. We met with, um, the Committee of Culture. We met with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization just to share more with them about the project, get feedback from them about, you know, how do they see this, you know, fitting in with some of the things that they see happening all around, all around the globe, like the global Church, which is really just incredible to get that…
Edmund: Did that make you nervous? Like, what was their reaction?
Emily: So, you know, it was great. Like I think that they asked really great questions about it, affirmed it in many ways. I mean, and I think that like one of the coolest things is really just the understand of like the, the universal nature of the Catechism. When we were meeting with one of the groups, they took us to this cool library, um, room like of this big bookshelf where it had the Catechism printed in like dozens of languages, right? Like every language that the Vatican had, like officially published the Catechism, even like braille, there was like a braille Catechism.
Emily: I know it was amazing. And, um, to think about like that and how they see it, a super important thing and the process of like, of being an official translation. So it can go and like, and people and who, who speak that language can encounter, like the truths in this, you know, thoroughly like vetted way, like for a good reason, right. Not to be strict, but like that they’re, that, that the truth is good for them, um, to think about like, the goal of this project and for it to reach as many people as possible and, and in many languages, but also like in a way that they will understand with these videos, hopefully meeting them where they are, and almost like this digital language to point back to the book. Um, that was super cool. So yeah, it was, it was really exciting. Some, uh, other exciting fruit will come of it, but wanted to share that. And then you’ve got some conferences coming up that you’ll be attending too, right?
Edmund: Yes. The Bosco conference, which is in the summer, I believe. And then the National Catholic Education Association. Right. NCEA, did I get that right?
Emily: Yes. NCEA
Edmund: That’s in, uh, April or may and that’s gonna be in Louisiana us. So I’m excited to be there and see some Catholic educators. Um, and then you’re attending you and Edmundo are attending the LARE.
Emily: Yes, we’ll be at the LARE Congress. So if you’re gonna be there, look for us. Uh, we’re super excited. And, um, then you’ll also be doing some filming with the Augustine Institute and FORMED.
Edmund: Yeah, we’re doing an interview. And also, uh, also with FOCUS, we’re doing some stuff with FOCUS too, so I’m gonna visit their headquarters there. So I’m really excited for that.
Emily: Exciting. Well, just as a reminder, you know, all these things that we’re working on, the videos of like the specific unit, but then also the way the traveling that we’ll be doing to hopefully continue to spread the word, um, is because we believe that the Catechism is not a textbook or a collection of ideas or set of rules, but it is the faithful echo of a God who desires to reveal himself to us and that, and on with this project with Real + True, we are on a mission to retransform the book into a living voice for the modern world, through our videos podcast, social media, uh, reels and tiktoks, all the content that we can create to help bring that to life, um, to a digital audience today. And we are so grateful for all of your support.
Edmund: Yeah. Thanks. And, um, please subscribe on YouTube and all the podcast apps. And then, then also we have an email list on our website and just really hoping and praying that it inspires you as well to take the Catechism into your life and be inspired and just share it as well in the same ways that that we’re trying to. So thanks for all your support and the comments and engaging and everything. And we will see you next time.
Emily: See you next time.
Would you prefer to listen to this instead?
Our Celebration series is also available as a podcast! Subscribe to bring R+T into your favorite listening app.
Also available on
The Eucharist is sacrifice and communion
This is the first themed Unit for Real + True. It is inspired by the USCCB’s Eucharistic Revival that launches this summer. Take a listen as Emily and Edmund explain…Watch
U.7 — CCC 422-682
Dive into Unit 7, which brings to focus the center of our faith: Jesus Christ. Explore the heart of the Catechism as your hosts Emily and Edmund explain a strategy…Watch
U.5 — CCC 185-231
Edmund shares about being cast as an astronaut for a day and the power of the Creed. Emily shares a story of persecuted Christians professing the Creed in the face…Watch
U.4 — CCC 142-184
To highlight what trust in God really is, Emily shares a childhood experience that went into the scripts, and Edmund gives insight into a fatherhood moment with his kids.Watch