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THE CHURCH


 

 

LOGICAL REASONING AND FAITH

St. Thomas of Aquinas showed us how to reason out logically;  of course, he was using the logic of Aristotle.  And, by mere reason, he showed how we can reach the concept of the One and True God through his popular five proofs of the existence of God.   The whole of the Summa Theologica is an excellent exercise in logical reasoning.  When seminarians were, once upon a time, trained in scholastic philosophy, heresies had a hard time entering seminaries.  When this was removed, the worst of heresies, modernism, filled the seminaries.  It is still there now.        

Apologists and spiritual writers are agreed that even as early as the 1800, Catholics had ceased to think, not mentioning the whole human race.  In fact, the Catholic Church had no great thinkers in the last three centuries.  Though three stand out -- Chesterton, Newman and Knox;  but they were all converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism.         

Logical reasoning may be considered as the ladder that leads to the top of the house, which is Faith.  Logical reasoning is human or natural and, therefore, changeable.  Faith is lasting.  When we reach Faith through a process of logical reasoning, our faith enlightens our reasoning and raises it up to the supernatural level.  This enables us to understand the deep truths of the Catholic religion.       

There are two extremes that we must avoid with regards to Faith;  neither of them is Faith.  On the far left are those who believe they need nothing else, including reason, to make an act of Faith.  One merely has to throw himself on the arms of Christ unconditionally.  They are forgetting that reason has to find out first if we are throwing ourselves in the right arms of Christ.    

The other extreme are the ones who read much, study much, attend schools of Theology and Catechetics and believe that what they have learned is Faith.  Of course not.  We can have knowledge and still not have Faith.  Seminarians study one year about the Blessed Trinity using thick books and yet end up without Faith.  That is because God is known through prayer and contemplation and not from books.  Books can help but it is not Faith.     

Grace builds on nature.  In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we resolve to be good soldiers of Christ.  The grace of faith strengthens that resolve beyond natural human powers.  In Matrimony, the grace of faith transforms the marriage bond into a bond lasting a lifetime.  So, the grace of faith improves our human reasoning.  It transforms our human moral certitude into absolute certitude of the things pertaining to our religion.  The wind has to be made from the natural water, not from thin air.   

Faith is a grace, a gift from God.  And the tragedy of man is that, because it is a gift, we can still throw it away.   But if he holds onto it, he will find himself in the palm of God's hands.     

 

 

 

        

 

 (10-18-10)

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                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


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