Years ago, I was big into denouncing any preaching that would presume to use the words "The only thing you need to know is..." [...that Jesus loves you; that God is love; etc.] "Ideology!" I would cry, and indeed, to this day I smolder at insipid homily-theosophy that tries to shrink the Divine Mysteries into a Hallmark card.
Recently, however, I've been toying around with a schema; a sort of propadeutic organization of everything that is unique to Catholicism into fewer rules than you need fingers to count them with. Ideally there would be three, and for some time, my mind swam in the cerebral bliss of thinking that there were three... but to my distress, I've thought of a fourth that, try as I might, can't be reduced to any of the others. Anyway, here's the thing:
- We are finite creatures of an infinite God.
- In Jesus, God is self-giving love.
- Creation and salvation occur by means of the analogy of being.
- Freedom (as in, freedom of the will from the flesh) is the measure of salvation.
[EDIT] - Just another thought... I am thinking that all four of these things may be in some sense contained in the intersection of the Biblical images of Father-Son and Bridegroom-bride. They are also contained partially in the diptychs of the vine-branches, master-servant, etc. But if the Father-Son relationship (the connection being the Holy Spirit) provides the primary archetype, and the Bridegroom-bride image represents how the trinitarian Godhead connects with the Church, thus giving form also to the Church's innner structure, right down to the domestic church, and even the individual soul, then these two may together contain the richest and most complete source of Catholic dogma and prayer possible.
Or not... No se!