Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
September 27, 2010
Faith sustains, makes all things possible
Great minds offer insights into the power, responsibilities, comfort of one's faith structure
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 3, 2010
Habakkuk 1.2-3, 2.2-4
2 Timothy 1.6-8, 13-14
Each in its own way, today's readings for the Mass address the subject of faith, the essence of religious conviction. Mindful of Sister Louise Zdunich's recent examination of the correct use of the word on these very pages (WCR, May 31), I ventured a trip into cyberspace and the files of that modern know-it-all machine, the Internet, where I sought to discover how some of the many heirs to Gospel teachings have used the term.
Thomas Aquinas wrote, "Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand." Further, "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."
Pope John Paul II wrote, "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth." Elsewhere he notes, "What is distinctive in the biblical text is the conviction that there is a profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge of reason and the knowledge of faith."
SEE WHAT YOU BELIEVE
In somewhat the same vein, St. Augustine affirms, "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe."
Abraham Lincoln, an intense student of the Bible made this practical application: "Let's have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it."
And a beautiful affirmation of faith: "Surely God would not have created a being such as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist for only a day!! No, no, man was made for immortality."
During his recent visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict celebrated the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Coventry. Newman's life affected many, and he had something to say about the matter of faith and belief: "We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe."
ALL IS POSSIBLE
St. Teresa of Avila, never one to mince words said, "Faith makes all things possible . . . love makes all things easy." She offers a bold and surprising balm for sometimes troubled minds, "Skepticism is the beginning of faith."
Ronald Reagan, regarded by some snobs as an intellectual lightweight, has yet to find his place in the pantheon of the United States. Presuming to give voice to the American people he made this eloquent statement, one which should help his memory: "We believe faith and freedom must be our guiding stars, for they show us truth, they make us brave, give us hope and leave us wiser than we were."
In 2006 Francis Collins, scientist and long-time head of the Human Genome project wrote of his faith in The Language of God, "The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshipped in the cathedral or in the laboratory."
And finally, a characteristically wise and humble comment from Mother Teresa, "I do not pray for success; I pray for faithfulness."