I was thinking recently that we should probably get cracking on teaching the Our Father. I was inspired by this quote:

“All that is said about faith, after all, is organized around four fundamental elements: the Credo, the Our Father, the Decalogue, the sacraments. These embrace the foundation of Christian life, the synthesis of the teaching of the Church based on Scripture and tradition. Here the Christian finds all that he must believe (the Credo), hope (the Our Father), do (the Decalogue) as well as the vital space in which all this must be accomplished (the sacraments).”
– Pope Benedict XVI (then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) The Ratzinger Report (San Francisco, 1985) 73.

During a quiet moment before bedtime, armed with all sorts of teaching strategies, I asked our three-year-old about the Our Father. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she could recite most of it. Not that she could explain why she knew it. But I guess it’s not so strange since she’s heard it every Sunday all her life, plus around the house every once in a while. It’s kind of neat that this is how she will absorb most of the “foundation of Christian life”, as the Holy Father calls it.

I wasn’t entirely off the hook. Reciting it is only the beginning… the beginning of all the… [drumroll] questions. Where is heaven? Do you need a plane to get there? What does hallowed mean? Ah, but I am ready! I have my trusty handy-dandy Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a slim little paperback for just these situations. [Discreetly flipping to the correct page] “Nope. Doesn’t seem like you’ll need a plane to get there…”

The full text of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is available online for free!