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.