Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Journey of Faith

God designed us so we are naturally inclined to search for Him. God constantly draws us to Himself and we search for Him, whether we are aware of it or not. 

Sometimes we reject God, and there are many reasons why this may happen. We may be ignorant or indifferent. We may be unhappy with the way the world is and want God to change it or blame God. Or we may have been scandalized by those who profess a belief in God and then proceed to do immoral or even evil things. We may be attached to our sin and not want to mess with anything that might lead us away from a life of sin we are enjoying. There are many things that lead us away from God. 

But there are also many things that lead us to God. One thing is the world itself. God created the world – the butterflies, the grass, the mountains, even the cockroaches - all of it can point us to Him. The order, the beauty, the movement, the possibility, it all leads us to Him. The human person also points us to God with his natural inclination toward truth and his desire for true happiness that can only be found in God. The human person also has a natural moral sense that is the voice of God within his soul. It is the soul also that points a person to God because it is a sliver of eternity inside of us that is always straining towards God. Our reason leads us to God and to faith. God gave us our natural reason in order that we may learn more about him; that is the purpose of our reason. So, if we are using reason properly, it will always lead us to Truth.

So, how are we asked to respond to God? 

With faith. 

Faith is a verb and a noun. It is a verb because when we have faith, we let God into our souls – we allow Him to run the show. It is a noun because in order to have faith we must have faith in formulas or creeds that describe what we believe. These formulas or creeds never fully express the truths they communicate: 

The believer’s act [of faith] does not terminate in the propositions, but in the realities [which they express]. – Thomas Aquinas

Faith is different from reason but it never contradicts it. Faith is different because it requires obedience, even if we do not understand in order to have faith we must accept. Obedience is not a popular concept in our culture. But how can we refuse obedience to our Creator? We must obey what God reveals to us through Scripture, and for Catholics through Sacred Tradition (which is also God's Word, it is Tradition with a capital "T," whose source is God).

Faith requires we believe in things unseen, not immediately provable. But our faith is not contrary to our freedom or to reason. God never coerces us to have faith. And if we believe something that natural reason proves wrong, then our faith (the verb) is misplaced and our faith (the noun) is misinformed.

God, in His great kindness determined that our faith would not be entirely blind but would be backed by natural reason and backed by signs of revelation – miracles, saints, holiness, stability throughout time, prophecies, etc – look for these things and you will not be far from the object of your faith. 

 May God bless you on your journey of faith!
(Ideas are inspired by and a loose summary of parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it's so beautiful!)

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