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FOOD FOR THOUGHT




 

 

FAITH

 

 

GENUINE CATHOLIC

        He is a true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, the Church, and the Body of Christ; who puts nothing else before divine religion and the Catholic Faith. . .neither the authority nor the love nor the genius nor the eloquence nor the philosophy of any man whatsoever but, despising all that and being fixed, stable and persevering in his faith, is determined in himself to hold and believe that only which he knows the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient times. 

Vincent of Lerins 

 

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CONFIDENCE IN GOD

Alone with none but Thee, my  God, 

          I journey on my way

What need I fear, when Thou art near

          O King of night and day?

More safe I am within Thy hand

          Than if a host did round me stand.

St. Columban

 

* * *

 

FAITH AND WORKS

The tempests howl, the storms dismay,

But manly strength can win the day.

Heave, lads, and let the echoes ring.

For clouds and squalls will soon pass on,

And victory lie with work well done.

Heave, Lads, and let the echoes ring.

The king of virtues vowed a prize

For him who wins, for him who tries,

Think, lads, of Christ and echo him.

St. Columban

 

* * *

 

Man looks at little objects--a nice little cuckoo clock, a neatly carved glass figurine-- and wonders who made them. He does not assume that the clock made itself. . .that would be ridiculous.  And yet, when it comes to the universe, he doubts that there is a maker and attributes it merely to a big bang? If a big bang cannot produce a tiny clock, how can it produce a universe?

 

* * *

 

The Catholic Religion was established by Christ as a means to conserve intellectual liberty and integrity. Usually, our religion is accused as an obstacle to free inquiry.  But the Creeds, the Crusades, the Hierarchy, the convents and monasteries. . .these were organized for the difficult task of defending reason. 

 

* * *

 

Man is surrounded by the monotony of nature-- the fact that the sun rises every morning, that a child kicks rhythmically, that a field is filled with sunflowers galore, that birds chirp and do not roar. 

Why all the monotony? Has it ever occurred to you that this monotony is, in fact, wonderful and miraculous?  

And the only reason it is presented to us in a monotonous way is because we do not get it to be miraculous. If and when we realize that the monotonous is miraculous, then we are ready to admit that there is a miracle worker behind the miracle.

 

* * *

 

We either believe in God or not.  If we believe in God's existence and turn out to be wrong, we lose little or nothing. But if we don't and are proven wrong, the consequences are disastrous. If we use our reason we must think as the former; because it makes more sense to believe in God even if God does not exist.

 

* * *

 

Reason must be used in the quest for the spiritual life; but it is competent only up to a certain point. If you rush madly forward, the consequence is distortion and contradiction. Reason must stop when it realizes that there are many truths beyond its power to know, i.e. when it realizes it is ignorant. As long as we think we know much, then we have not even reached this limit.

 

* * *

 

Reason and faith never contradict. In fact, every act of reason contains an element of faith; and every act of faith contains an element of reasoning. Remove faith from reason and it is doomed to error; remove reasoning from faith and it becomes superstition. 

 

* * *

 

Supernatural truths are not accessible to the senses. By definition, they run counter to the senses. Neither are they accessible to the intellect because they transcend the intellect. For instance, to inherit a sum of money makes sense; but inheriting original sin is difficult to understand. Yet this truth is so real Christ died to free us from it. 

 

* * *

 

The truths of religion are incomprehensible, but so are many things around us that we see and touch everyday. The way to approach all these is not to walk around in a torpor but rather to wonder in awe and then start thinking about them. Here is where reasoning begins. 

 

* * *

 

It is dangerous for a man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness and for man to know his wretchedness without knowing God. The first leads to the arrogance of a philosopher; the latter leads to the despair of the atheist. 

 

* * *

 

BELIEVE THAT YOU MAY UNDERSTAND

Teach me to seek you, and when I seek you, show yourself to me; for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me.

Let me seek you by desiring you,  and desire you by seeking you.

Let me fund you by loving you,  and love you when I find you.

I do not seek to understand so that I can believe, but I believe so that I may understand.

For this, too, I believe:

Unless I believe, I shall not understand.

St. Anselm of Canterbury

 

* * *

 

Man, by nature, hates the true religion and loves the false religion. The gods of the Greeks and Romans are nothing but personifications of man's vices. Note how their gods committed adultery, fornication and got drunk. The true religion teaches man the truth about his wretchedness. . .which no man in his pride will ever accept.

 

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(08-19-10)

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                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


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