“Knowledge” in CCC 2751

Palermo Pantocrator Christ priest

We think we know things. But we really don’t.

I thought I knew how to paddle a small boat. But it turns out that, if you want to paddle properly, the main force of your stroke has to come from pushing with your upper hand, not pulling with the lower.

Who knew? I learned this yesterday during the annual 10th-grade Roanoke-Catholic-School kayaking trip. Which of course included the obligatory excessive splashing of Father.

Catechism-of-the-Catholic-CHurch…The Catechism has a brief, lapidary explanation of the priestly prayer of Christ in John 17 (which we read at Holy Mass this week). I find it one of the hardest parts of the Catechism to understand. So, during the seventh week of Easter, I always try to re-read it.

Here’s the concluding sentence of this section of the Catechism:

The priestly prayer of Christ reveals and gives us the ‘knowledge,’ inseparably one, of the Father and the Son, which is the very mystery of the life of prayer.

See what I mean? A mysterious sentence.

The knowledge the Father has of the Son, and the knowledge the Son has of the Father–a single, unique knowledge. Who has it?

Well, Lord Jesus tells us: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” (Mt 11:27)

Humbling. We don’t really know anything ultimately worth knowing; we don’t know lambshanks from shinola, unless the Son reveals to us the unique knowledge that He has of the Father. That fact constitutes a prevailing theme of the priestly prayer of Christ, in John 17.

But what does the Son say, after He says, ‘no one knows nada without Me?’ He says: Come to me, all you weary lambs, who struggle and strive and sweat and cuss under your breath– Come to me, and I will give you rest for your souls. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble of heart. My yoke is easy and my burden light.

It’s not so hard. Prayer. Life. All He wants us to do is to say the Our Father every day and mean it.

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