I work at the Coming Home Network International as a webmaster. The CHNI is a fellowship of Catholic clergy converts and those non-catholic clergy and laity who are interested in making the journey home.
The office has been abuzz as we prepare for our annual “Deep In History” conference in Columbus Ohio. For information visit http://www.chnetwork.org/DIH/deepinhistory.html
My wife and I are visiting Dayton Ohio this thursday. I am giving a talk on “Faith and Reason” to the Theology On Tap, as per the invitation of my good friend DJ Swearingen.
I will be writing (and maybe sharing video!) about faith more in the future, but for now I ask you, what is faith? I, like you, have heard my fair share of definitions, but I, perhaps also like you, have not been satisfied with either the vague and convoluted (and under-explained) definitions I have heard.
The word “faith” is bandied about so much, but what does faith really mean?
>Does it mean, as our atheist friends assume, that we simply perform the mental act of “belief” without any reason, proof, adequate knowledge, or the like?
> Does it mean, as my freshman philosophy classmates concluded, that faith is adhering to the conclusion that seems to have the most evidence? Or to the one that has the highest potential beneficial yield? (the effect of reading Pascal’s wager out of the context of the rest of Pensees)
Are these all that faith is? Or is there something more?
The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” defines faith as “ Man’s response to God”.
While simple, I think this definition is both profound and powerful.
It seems to imply that God takes the first step. It seems to imply that man cannot put faith in God except in response to Him. It seems to imply that one puts faith in God in the context of one’s relationship with God.
You see, if you take a bird’s-eye view at Catholicism, the type of relationship with God it seems to be built to encourage is one of profound closeness and unity. The seven sacraments are visible signs of the spiritual reality of God’s work – they make present to us the ministry of Jesus Christ. We eat His body, we hear Him forgive our sins in confession, we hear God’s word proclaimed at every mass. We are called by the saints into profound contemplation and have examples of the great holy men and women who entered fully into union with God.
Deep down inside I think we all want this type of close relationship with God. However, we don’t pursue it and often avoid even admitting to ourselves we want this relationship because it involves, as I mentioned in my previous post, facing our fears about God (see “Two fears”)
As I said, more to come. This is a pretty big topic for me right now and has been for a while – I appreciate your thoughts and input, especially when I begin posting my more formal reflections.
Thanks for reading!
“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried. “ (Gilbert K. Chesterton)
The Bishop and the Conference – Bishop Robert F. Vasa, D.D. A pretty powerful article. One bishop talks candidly and profoundly on the Bishops Conferences and the individual shepherds
Report from the Catholic Undead – Wolfgang Grassl Great article about the state of the Catholic faith in Europe and a comparison/contrast to that of America.
In Persona ET – The Curt Jester Fun article about the possibility of intelligent life on other planets. References to Lewis’ Space Trilogy which I LOVE. Some good fun and intelligent musings from the Curt Jester.
The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis: Only Lewis can pull of books like this. What is your first visceral reaction to the thought of a book that is nothing but the correspondence from an upper level demon to a lower level demon in the field instructing him on the proper temptation of his human charge? As strange as this may sound at first, the book is not only delightful, written with Lewis’ usual charm and wit, but it can be life changing in that it is an exceedingly insightful examination of the inner spiritual battle every human being faces.