Baltimore Catechism I, Lesson 01. On the End of Man

This first lesson is intended for children preparing for First Communion in the Catholic Church. Aristotle taught that it is important for man to know the end (or purpose) for which he was created so that he can have a mark at which to aim in life. This lesson provides children with the knowledge of that aim–and much more. In this lesson, children also learn of the origin of the world (question 1), of the creator of the world (question 2), of their own nature (question 3), the purpose of their lives (question 6), how they may fulfill this purpose (question 9), where they will learn what needs to be known (question 10-11), and what it is that needs to be believed (question 12).

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Lesson First On the End of Man

In this first lesson, we study the most important questions in this life: Where did we come from? What are we supposed to do here? What happens after this life? We study the “end” or purpose of man.

1. Q. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.

2. Q. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.1

3. Q. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.

6. Q. Why did God make you?2
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

9. Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.

10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

11. Q. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches?
A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles’ Creed.

12. Q. Say the Apostles’ Creed.
A. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell: the third day He arose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

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Notes

  1. See Colossians 1:16
  2. Questions that will be studied in Baltimore Catechism II but are not considered essential for First Communion preparation are omitted in Baltimore Catechism I. There is no error with the numbering.