Today women are often looked upon by men in ways God never intended.
Satan’s work can be seen all around us, on billboards, on TV, and especially on the internet. Women are slandered and used quite often for monetary gain and pleasure.
Why has the devil cast so much of his effort to distorting and perverting the image of women?
Its actually a very simple question to answer. Women in my mind hold power in heaven unlike anything or anyone else on earth. With them the future is brought into being, future saints, future men and women of God. On them mostly rests the training and guidance of the world through its future generations. And through their prayers, Gods plans are furthered and realized.
I know in my own life I’ve had many rough areas. My parents thought at one point my future was a jail cell, or a life far removed from what I have actually become.
I thank God and all the saints for my mother, who untiringly prayed for me, watched over me, and helped me even when I didn’t think I needed help. I’m already realizing many instances in which I remember my mom saying, “You’ll thank me for this later”. And I do.
Dignity. What is it?
Dignity is a kin of respect, a gift given us by God.
Dignity realizes within each of us the image in God. It is our right as human beings, and should be realized for even the lowest of us. It demands Honor and respect.
Now we have defined what our human dignity is, how has Satan assaulted it within society, and especially towards women?
Firstly, through lust.
God created us to be loved, and from his love for us comes to us our dignity. And because of his love for us, we should love each other with that same dignity.
God creates nothing imperfect. And so we are perfect creation, and only flawed because of the sin that entered the world we are born into. Lust destroys the image of Gods creation in the eyes of those who fall into it.
Society teaches many people today that lust is love, that sex is casual, and that pornography is acceptable.
I think of this as 2 lenses.
The first, the lens of Gods eternal love, the lens of dignity. Through which who we are and who we will become is shown.
The second, the lens of Lust, the lens of destruction. Though this lens we no longer see a person. We see a THING. A MEANS. And dignity never enters the equation.
You could argue this for both sexes. Both being susceptible to this lie. However my focus is from the mans perspective.
What is it that makes us fall into this lie? What is it we really seek?
What most men want to see in a woman is:
1. Modesty. Because we know a modest woman holds her self higher than most.
And hasn’t yet degraded her self by lowering her standards.
2. Morality. Because we know a Moral woman is a true treasure, and walks with Christ.
3. Purity. Because we know a pure woman will belong to only one. And has saved her being for her calling, in this sense, the man who will prize her highly, and love her always.
After all that we look for the other qualities we seek. Good with kids, hard working, fun, ect.
The 2nd way the devil assaults the dignity of women.
The idea of casual sex.
Our sexuality is our gift from God, and in marriage, the most powerful expression of love in this life. And that is why Satan wishes to destroy it.
Married intercourse is the deepest form of love available to us on earth. So powerful in fact that, with Gods grace and blessing, creation is achieved.
God, the all powerful creator, sharing his power with us, in the act of creation.
Casual sex perverts and destroys this.
Marital relations are a covenant with God, in which each person gives them selves to each other totally, completely, and for eternity. Casually this becomes a temporary language of love. And in fact is more than just occasionally, lust. It says “I love you so much that I don’t have the integrity to wait for God to enter this relationship. And I love you so much that I’ll give only part of my self to you, and only for a little while”.
The language of forever is gone and replaced by the desires of now.
And this is why 50% of marriages fail. Trying to seal a forever promise with temporary glue.
So the devil destroys the dignity of our sexuality. And instead of seeing the daughters of God like we are meant to, men see only an object, instead of princesses of the Divine King–playthings for their own selfish desires.
And there is only one thing more degrading, that destroys dignity more than this.
Abortion. Abortion takes the dignity of the human being which we have already talked about, and utterly destroys it. Instead of perverting or mocking it, it stifles and kills it.
And even more than that.. The divine calling for a woman to conceive life within her, and to carry it, to nurture it is destroyed. And in abortion Satan ultimately takes away a woman’s greatest gift from God. Her child. And in doing so deprives the world of a brighter future.
Women of God. You are all SO BEAUTIFUL! And this is why the powers of darkness assail you.
Your dignity deserves the most humble respect from us men.
You capture men’s hearts and tame them.
You are co creators with God Himself.
You are daughters, princesses, beautiful creations of God. And all men should respect you all, and show you great love and dignity.
It was ordained by God from the beginning that women play the most crucial roles in life. By bringing it into being, and nurturing it.
Instead of coming into the world by His own divine power. Christ, God, true God and true man, came into the world from the womb of a woman we now know as the Queen of Heaven. Only through her “yes” did Jesus enter this world for the salvation of our souls. Not because God couldn’t otherwise… He chose to, and this TRULY shows the real dignity of women.
And for those of who you may have lost sight of that dignity. I pray in the name of Christ that your eyes be opened again. And that again you raise your standards to be worthy of who you REALLY are. Because you are beautiful, and you are loved.
For those of you who still stand, dignified but yet modest and kind, continue to set your examples.
In a world where you might stand totally counter to the culture around you, remain strong. Only you can let yourself fall, and your dignity crumble.
In today’s society suffering is often thought of as bad luck or simply something to be endured. As a Catholic though, there is so much more to be offered, literally, in the service of God, by our own personal trials and suffering.
Many of us have often been told or heard about “Offering our suffering up to God”, however not many people know how or even why.
Our example is the Cross of Jesus Christ. During the passion Jesus gave His life for us in absolute and perfect love. Offering our sins up to God with His suffering.
In the same way we can offer our suffering to the Cross for the sake of others.
Something else we’ve all heard before as well is “God is love”.
But we always miss the profound truth in that statement, and the potential with which we can live our lives underneath that teaching.
If God is love, then any act of love we are involved in is not only of God, but brings His graces with it.
The saints and prophets often in the bible would take no reward for the works they preformed. I would say this is due to the fact that all good we do on earth, through love, is simply an extention of God him self in our own lives. We always ask the question: “Where is God? I mean in the real world, if he is in all things, how do we recognize him?”
And this is the answer.
In every act of love we have the opportunity to see Gods face, and through the world he so lovingly created.
But we still have yet to answer the first question:
“How DO I offer my suffering to God? And what does that actually mean?”
We offer our suffering to the Cross of Christ through an act of love. With true love and compassion for the suffering and trials of others, we send our love through our suffering for the sake of others.
If God is love, then an act, even painful, done in love for another person or persons, will ultimately bring Gods grace and love to that person.
And this is the way of Christian suffering.
In the bible it says that we in essence complete the mission of Christ on the cross through our suffering.
By using our suffering to continue his mission of salvation. That by our suffering within the shadow of Christ’s Cross, we bring Christ and his love and grace, to the rest of the living world.
What is dating? Generally in todays society dating is seen as having someone with fuzzy feelings. A date to prom, a nice Valentines day dinner and all those other lovey dovey things. People often talk about wanting to find love and find “the one,” which is precisely my point. What dating should be about is finding your future spouse. Not emotions.
Now I realize as a teen, you’re probably not ready to get married. Most of you are probably concerned about finding a prom date before marriage. Which is great! I’m not saying you have to be ready to get married before you date. I mean, when I was first interested in guys I certainly wasn’t ready to get married. When I met my husband, I was 17, and I wasn’t ready to get married. While it’s true that he’s my first and only relationship, sometimes God doesn’t let everyone find their future spouse on their first try. You have to let God be a part of you love life.
So how can you start trying to find you’re future spouse? Well I think that first it would be most important to decide if God is even calling you to the married life at all! Maybe this is something you haven’t thought about. Maybe you’re afraid of the answer, or maybe you simply haven’t given it much thought yet, but it’s so incredibly important to discern what God is calling you to do. It’s a process even I went through, even though I was in a relationship while I was in the process of becoming Catholic. I can’t tell you how to discern. Everyones process is a little bit different, but two really important components would be praying to God about it, and talking to a priest if you have any questions or you’re feeling called one way or the other. Not only is it important to talk to God and someone who can help you discern the call, but if you are dating someone, it’s important to be honest about your discernment process so no one is surprised in the end, and so no one gets hurt. Don’t lead anyone on!
So to get back to dating. How exactly do you go about this whole thing to begin with? The first thing I’d like to note is that you might not find your future spouse on your very first try. We’re all different people from different walks of life. While I did find my future husband on my first try, I know that it’s not the case for everyone. It’s important to let God in on this whole process. He loves you, and He has a plan for you. He knows what’s best for you, so I can definitely say that prayer is a great way to go. Let God in on your love life. Talk to Him about someone you’re interested in or someone you’re dating. Pray for your future spouse! God very much wants to be a part of it. Not only that, but having a strong relationship with God is a great way to meet your future spouse. It’s also a bit important to be open to who God may bring into your life. It’s okay to have an ideal of what you’re looking for, but in the case of my husband, I certainly wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. I was Agnostic and had a very different way of living than he did and he was looking for someone who would share his faith with him. He did find that someone, he just had to help bring me to it. And last but not least, remember what love really is. Love is not warm fuzzy emotions. Love is wanting the good of another even at ones own expense.
Welcome to the first entry of a very long series which I would love to call “The Origin Of”. Together we’ll explore some origins and history of our traditions, rites, and common devotions as Catholics. This particular subject is very close to my heart. I grew up Catholic, but I first learned to love The Church and our Lord when I was 8 years old. God gave me an angel, a guide, and by that time I called her “teacher”. She instructed me in meanings, and gave me an explanation to why we acted the way we did. She was patient, cheerful, and very smart on how to explain a very curious 8-year-old.
As I grow older, I realize that is that kind of instructions that made me fall completely in love with our Church and our faith. It also helps me be aware of what I do in mass, while praying the rosary, confession, and our many devotions.
By writing this, I don’t pretend to be your (only) source of knowledge. I just want to share with you what I know, what I have investigated; I want you to feel the need of getting to really know our Church, and through it, get to know who Jesus really is. Not who you think He is, but who He IS. I want to share with you the reasons I love our Tradition. I pray you learn to love our Tradition, Rites and everything, and live every single one of them with true happiness, even when a smile is not at hand.
So let’s get started.
During early times of Christianity newly Baptized Christians went through a period of ‘Mystagogia’, a time in which they were introduced to deeper knowledge of the faith. Small details of Rites and devotions (like the water in the baptism, the wine and bread, the rosary, the adoration of the cross) where explained. During this time, all these wonderful newly baptized Christians used to wear white (more symbols).
But why was this so important? Well, we really can’t love what we do not know. The Catholic Church, and Its Founder, Our Lord, have always used symbols and material things to explain, represent, and reveal spiritual things. Things (facts) we cannot see, touch, or even imagine. And even when all spiritual things are invisible to our eyes, they are here.
Jesus made many miracles (still does!) on this earth. Notice my dear reader, miracles are symbols (don’t get me wrong, they have massive importance); a way of illustrating to us, his children, that He is in fact, GOD.
To give a basic example, water has always been a associated with “pure”, “purifying”, “cleaning”. In the baptism, the Original Sin is removed, our soul cleaned. So, water is symbol of the action of the Holy Spirit.
So as you see, we are going to be talking about the origin of these symbols, how they came to be and why.
When we stand, when we kneel, when we speak, when we listen, when we pray, when we remain in silence…..everything has a reason. Everything is to bring us closer to God.
I often find it hard to get my mind wrapped around the idea of God’s mercy. Like the stars in the sky that remind me of the great vastness of the universe, I cannot even begin to fathom how unbelievably blessed I am to experience something so boundless and immeasurable, yet tangible and real.
In a very strange way, I am reminded of that awkward time in 7th grade when I finally began to grasp the idea that variables and letters, could represent numbers and values. While I couldn’t exactly explain the logic behind this unsettling discovery, I somehow found it easy to understand how these variables worked – this coming from someone who still thinks that variables are one of the greatest mysteries of life, next to women.
Coincidentally, much like my experience with the peculiar nature of variables, I still struggle with trying to comprehend the wonder and splendor that is my Father’s mercy, love, and compassion. But I am starting to realize in a more profound and concrete way, that unlike those pesky variables, I don’t need to comprehend them. I don’t think anyone can. I simply need to immerse myself in all that He is, and follow Him.
God’s grace has often been compared to the grandeur and depths of the ocean. And to think that this is the same ocean that envelops each and every one of us is beyond all human understanding, and yet, it somehow makes all the sense in the world when you come to realize just how much He loves us.
Too often have I felt undeserving of God’s mercy and wallowed in self-pity.
But I know that God calls me just as I am, flaws and all. He doesn’t love me for what I’ve done, but for who I am – His lover, His child, His friend.
So as we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent with contrite hearts, let us also reflect upon how the love of Christ has changed and transformed our lives.
It’s made all the difference in mine.
Questions 25 to 29
Here we look at why we need to have a definite profession of faith. We look at the origins of the Creeds and what they say.
The best source that I’ve come across regarding the Creed is the General Directory for Catechesis. I have used parts of it below that correspond to the questions. Although it may be directed at the role of catechesis surrounding the Creeds, nevertheless, I think it is beneficial to study them in that context anyway.
Q. 25 – As the YOUCAT states, the Creeds are ‘the foundation for the Church’s unity’ and prevent Christ’s message ‘from misunderstandings and falsifications.’ Moreover the Directory says,
[a] Who has encountered Christ desires to know him as much as possible, as well as to know the plan of the Father which he revealed. Knowledge of the faith (fides quae) is required by adherence to the faith (fides qua). (252) Even in the human order the love which one person has for another causes that person to wish to know the other all the more. Catechesis, must, therefore, lead to “the gradual grasping of the whole truth about the divine plan”, (253) by introducing the disciples of Jesus to a knowledge of Tradition and of Scripture, which is “the sublime science of Christ”. (254) By deepening knowledge of the faith, catechesis nourishes not only the life of faith but equips it to explain itself to the world. The meaning of the Creed, which is a compendium of Scripture and of the faith of the Church, is the realization of this task.
[b] St Cyril of Jerusalem affirms with regard to the Creed: “This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as a mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too the summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and New Testaments”.
Q. 26 goes on to discuss the Creeds as the common Christian confession of faith;
The object of catechesis is expressed in profession of faith in the one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
82. Catechesis is that particular form of the ministry of the word which matures initial conversion to make it into a living, explicit and fruitful confession of faith: “Catechesis has its origin in the confession of faith and leads to confession of faith.” (240)
The profession of faith inherent in Baptism (241) is eminently Trinitarian. The Church baptizes “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28,19) (242) the triune God to whom the Christian entrusts his life. Initiatory catechesis—both before and after the reception of Baptism—prepares for this decisive undertaking. Continuing catechesis helps to mature this profession of faith, to proclaim it in the Eucharist and to renew the commitments which it entails. It is important that catechesis should unite well the confession of christological faith, “Jesus is Lord”, with the trinitarian confession, “I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, in such a way that there are not two modes of expressing the Christian faith. He who is converted to Jesus Christ and recognizes him as Lord through the primary proclamation of the Gospel begins a process which, aided by catechesis, necessarily leads to explicit confession of the Trinity.
In the confession of faith in the one God, the Christian rejects all service of any human absolute; “power, pleasure, race, ancestors, state, wealth…”, (243) and is thus liberated from the enslavement of any idol. It is the proclamation of his will to serve God and man without any ties. In proclaiming faith in the Trinity, which is a communion of Persons, the disciple of Jesus Christ shows at once that the love of God and neighbour is the principle which informs his being and his action.
83. The confession of faith is complete only in reference to the Church. All the baptized individually proclaim the Credo, for no action can be more personal than this. However, they recite it in the Church and through the Church, because they do so as members of the Church. ‘Credo’ and ‘Credimus’ necessarily imply each other. (244) In fusing his confession of faith with that of the Church, the Christian is incorporated into her mission: to be the “universal sacrament of salvation” for the life of the world. He who makes the profession of faith takes on responsibilities that not infrequently provoke persecution. In Christian history the martyrs are proclaimers and witnesses par excellence. (245)
Furthermore, as an appendage to Q. 27, some information on the use of the Creed,
In the patristic period properly, catechumenal formation was realized through biblical catechesis, based on recounting the history of salvation; immediate preparation for Baptism by doctrinal catechesis, explaining the Creed and the Our Father which had just been handed on, together with their moral implications; and through the phase following the sacraments of initiation, a period of mystagogical catechesis which help the newly baptized to interiorize these sacraments and incorporate themselves into the community.
Then Q. 28, on the Apostles’ Creed:
– The Apostles’ Creed demonstrates how the Church has always desired to present the Christian mystery in a vital synthesis. This Creed is a synthesis of and a key to reading all of the Church’s doctrine, which is hierarchically ordered around it. (393)
Lastly, see The Nicene Creed- A Roadmap For Our Faith for a quick overview of the Nicene Creed for Q. 29.
• What does the word ‘catechesis’ mean?
• What would you say to a Christian who said they didn’t need to go to Church to have a relationship with God?
If one were to ever imply that the Church’s doctrines were old and unrelatable to current affairs, or needing to be revised, so as to be brought up-to-date with the modern culture, this person reveals [indicates] a complete ingorance of the One God, His Church, and the Holy Canon of Scriptures so many take for granted, also known as the Bible.
One who stands with such a statement has declared God unreliable and irrelevent.
Nothing could be further from the Truth. I have found no other topic worth discussing that brings adventure, sense of purpose, or inspiration like that of the Church’s mission and journey through the ages, to share the Gospel Truth throughout the entire Earth, without shame or fear. Only the Truth will remain after all has come to past, and the very elements of the Universe have run their course.
Choose to not only find the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, His Body, but learn to share the Church with others.
Matt.16:18-19, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
We see that Simon’s name is changed to Peter (Petros) meaning “Rock”. And so we read it as thus in (Matt. 16:18), “You are Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my church.” Then Jesus, the Eternal King whom sits on the Throne of David, places His Keys on the Apostle Simon, now Peter, to serve as Vicar, just as the Kings of the Davidic Dynasty.
Isaiah 22:20-22, “On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open.” (shows a parallel to Matthew 16:18-20)
In this passage from (Isaiah 22:22) we see the Old Testament connection to the “keys.”
The Bible further explains the position of Eliakim in Isaiah.
2 Kings 18:37, “Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace…”
Never doubt the role of the Pope as Vicar of Christ, to rule over the House of God on Earth, as the entire scenario was presented to the prophet Zechariah.
Zechariah 3:9, “For behold, upon the stone which I have set before Joshua, upon a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day.”
Seven facets? Yes, seven flat spots on a solid rock… interesting, but what for?
Proverbs 9:1-6, “Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who is without sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave simpleness, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
Walking in the way of insight is exactly what the Church invites all to faithfully partake in by sharing in the Lamb’s Supper, which is the New and Everlasting Covenant. Wisdom [God] has established the Church, and it is here that we, Catholic Christians, come to the fullness of Truth in Jesus by eating the Bread [His Flesh], and drinking the Wine [His Blood], to which He instructed as our Pass-over meal for the New Exodus from bondage of the world, to find New Life in the world to come. We become a New Creation in Christ, sharing not only in His death, but also His resurrection to New Life.
The ways of this world are Old and passing. Let go of the world, embrace what is New and Everlasting, for the New has come, and the Old has past, and is still passing. All that is shaken will fall away, so come and partake of what is unshaken.
On October 2, 2006 Charles Carl Roberts IV entered an Amish school in Pennsylvania. He held the students hostage and eventually shot ten girls (aged 6-13), killing five, and then committing suicide. The same day of the shooting family members of victims visited the shooters family to show their forgiveness and to comfort Roberts’ family. The following day one of the elders from the Amish community said not to hate the killer, saying, “We must not think evil of this man.” Many who witness or observed this tragedy made remarks and criticized how quickly the Amish community found forgiveness. Crazy love, right?
In a similar story, Pope John Paul II confronted the man who tried to assassinate him. The two spoke privately for 20 minutes John Paul II said, “What we talked about will have to remain a secret between him and me. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.″ (Wikipedia)
CRAZY LOVE is a book that I recently finish reading from Francis Chan. The book is well written and offers a great reflection of how our relationship is with Christ and with others. I’ve realized I didn’t equally share my love to other. “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 24:40). I am at fault when it comes to being the bearer of light of Christ. I favor and give love to those who I expect to return that same love back. I offer little or no love to those who angry me and those who deserves the Love of Christ the most.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you” Trying something new with my life – I will give love regardless on how you treat me. It is a difficult task but worthy of the challenge of being Christ-like. Crazy Love is an unbalance love. It is a love that overflows, which gives every opportunity for you to give it away, regardless of the situation. This type of love is called AGAPE – God’s unconditional love.
I want to challenge every who is reading this to leave a comment on a time when you offered love when most people would have shown hate. Or leave a comment on a commitment on how you will change so the light of love will shine through darkness in your life.
I LOOK FORWARD TO READING EVERYONE’S REPLY TO THIS POST!
Share Christ. Stay Blessed.
Seeing as this is entire series about marriage, I think it makes sense to talk about love first. I think the first question to ask is what love is. Is it warm fuzzy feelings in your tummy when you see that someone special? Is it an emotion? Is it a feeling? All of these combined? You might be shocked to find that none of these are the answer.
What is love then? Well first of all, there are lots of different types of love in different contexts, but we are going to talk about married love, because my love for pizza is a lot different is a lot different than my love for my husband, or even my family and friends. Love is an action. Love is to will the good of another, even at ones own expense. “Love is the free self-giving of the heart.  To have a heart full of love means to be so pleased with something that one emerges from oneself and devotes oneself to it. A musician can devote himself to a masterpiece. A kindergarten teacher can be there wholeheartedly for her charges. In every friendship there is love. The most beautiful form of love on earth, however, is the love between man and woman, in which two people give themselves to each other forever. All human love is an image of divine love, in which all love is at home. Love is the inmost being of the Triune God. In God there is continual exchange and perpetual self-giving. Through the overflowing of divine live, we participate in the eternal love of God. The more a person loves, the more he resembles God. Love should influence the whole life of a person, but it is realized with particular depth and symbolism when man and woman love one another and become ‘one flesh.’ (Gen 2:24)” (Youcat 402) That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. It is to will the good of another. I’m really only repeating myself, but I feel that it must be stressed because secular society has a distorted view of what love really is. To secular society, it is selfish, and needy, and all about these feelings and emotions that may not even stick around forever. Think about it. How many times have you heard someone say, “I just don’t feel like I love him/her anymore,” or “I feel like I need/want this or that.” There is so much emphasis on feeling and emotions, which isn’t what love is all about! Love is not always convenient, or easy. Love isn’t always about you, or what makes you feel better. There have been plenty of situations where it would have been easier to just opt out of my relationship than trying to love my husband through out our entire 3 years of being together.
I know this post is already kind of short-ish, but if I were to continue, this post would never end, because I could honestly write books, and books about love. I strongly suggest reading up on love in the Catechism though, there is a lot of great information in there, and don’t forget to look under Charity as well! It is basically the same thing! All I don’t really consider myself to be a master of love myself, because I’m fairly new at it :) But I will leave you with another famous Bible quote to reflect on.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NAB)
Questions 3 to 6
This chapter of the YOUCAT: Man Is Receptive to God, draws heavily on an understanding of the metaphysical, which in layman’s terms is; what is not physical, what is invisible or the spiritual element of existence.
Joel Hodge writes about our yearning for God in an article called The value of theology and the mystery of life;
What Christian faith involves is completely natural to human living: we place our faith in an Other who shows us what it means to be human by his living. We all do this in some form. Christianity is explicit about it, so much so that we devote an academic discipline – theology – to the rational study and explication of our faith. This is, in part, why theology is ‘queen of the sciences’ as it is concerned with the most important and fundamental human questions and experiences. It is the love of God in Jesus that has also allowed Christians to know their lives better, and so flourish in terms of art, music, knowledge, and so on. In this regard, the works of Rodney Stark and René Girard, amongst others, have shown how Christianity has revolutionised human thought and culture.
Moving on to human reason;
The most regarded document on the link between faith and reason is Fides et Ratio by Bl. Pope John Paul II:
Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).
In reading this text we begin to see just how important a solid grounding in the field of philosophy is to fully appreciate our faith and to be able to have meaningful dialogue with others about what we believe and, moreover, to understand the principles of theology.
Indeed, if you have ever had dialect with a non-believer, you would have an insight into this question and just how important a knowledge of philosophy, and consequentially, the appeal to human reason is.
If for instance, every day we struggle with wanting to do our own thing and especially if in the past you have had a lapse of faith or weren’t a religious person, you will know how easily we can convince ourselves that because it is hard to live a life close to God, such a life would limit our freedom and therefore must be wrong. In reality though, only a life in Christ guarantees our freedom.
The Pope’s Message for 2011 World Youth Day does a lot to explain this;
Dear friends, the Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true! It is God’s “yes” to mankind, the supreme expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows. Indeed, it is from Jesus’ heart, pierced on the Cross, that this divine life streamed forth, ever accessible to those who raise their eyes towards the Crucified One. I can only urge you, then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God’s love, as the source of new life. Apart from Jesus Christ risen from the dead, there can be no salvation! He alone can free the world from evil and bring about the growth of the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire.
However, as he points out in this article, we must remember that ‘[i]t is better to be a searching agnostic than a false believer.’
Yes, we must tell others about our faith!
It is our responsibility to engage with non-believers firstly by appealing to their faculty of reason, vouching for the existence of God and the truth of His Church.
How do we do this seemingly impossible task? Firstly we must remember that when a person outrightly denies or is ambivalent about the existence of God, as the question says, they hope deep down that beyond this life they cannot have come from nothing and go back to nothing. This gives us the confidence to undertake this task, but also, we must remember the value of prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we have been given, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation – These inspire us to do what is right.
Here is a website on evangelization called Ask a Catholic a Question which has some helpful advice.
Lastly, as Archbishop Chaput said, ‘teaching the truth should always be done with patience and compassion, as well as firmness.’
• What is the meaning of the word ‘theology’?
• With the notion of freedom, what are we free from?