Wednesday, 30 April 2008

I believe

At Mass on a Sunday, we say the Nicene Creed. It begins... 'Credo' or 'I believe'. I want to ask you all a question... Do you?



The picture above is a picture from the 12th century salamanca cathedral. The liturgy was very different then and the purpose of the icons was to represent the 52 scenes from the Gospel and to preach on these on the 52 Sundays of the year. The cathedral was replaced later on as a sort of response to the reformation which in Spain and many other 'uber catholic' countries was to become more Catholic rather than bow to the pressure of the followers of Luther and Calvin. Both the Church and the Faithful were stirred to defend what they believed and made their Catholic faith visible and apart of their everyday life. When I was in Salamanca in 2006, I took a picture of the new Cathedral.



Someone I know once referred to this new cathedral as a sign of triumphalism. To be honest, that's a pile of nonsense, this new cathedral was a statement of faith in the one God, the father, the almighty. Those who built the Cathedral were saying 'I believe'.



By his Revelation, "the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company."1 The adequate response to this invitation is faith.



By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, "the obedience of faith"



Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 142 & 143



We must today ask ourselves, do we believe? Are these words we just spout out? Are these words a stimuli to our hearts and minds? Do we just like the 'Credo' sung beautifully so we can enjoy the music? Or do we want the words to be sung because we want to 'profess' the faith, our faith, my faith?



I have to ask myself this question daily. About a year ago, I took it for granted that 'I believed', but now I have to continually ask and remember that I do believe. I remember Rowan Williams being interviewed once and he was asked 'does God exist?', he said 'I hope so'. To me, that's not a sign of a man with faith. To me, having faith is being able to say 'I know He does exist'.



When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come "from flesh and blood", but from "my Father who is in heaven".24 Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. "Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and 'makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.'"


The Catechism goes on:


Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to "yield by faith the full submission of. . . intellect and will to God who reveals",26 and to share in an interior communion with him. CCC 154.



Today when we are under pressure from our culture to loose hope, we mustn't be reactionary. We must not have this crazy idea that we are a little group of Christians all bundled into the Colosseum awaiting Martyrdom. The tendency is to loose hope, but that's not a sign of faith. In the film Quo Vadis, remember how the Christians started singing even when they were being put to death. That action spoke of a hope, but not only a hope - they were speaking of a profound knowledge in the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.



No, let's not be Martyrs and cry about it; let's go into the world with a joy that will make it easy for others to accept and to believe the truth. Yet before we do that we have to ask ourselves the question... Do I believe?

1 comment:

Emitte said...

This is a great blog! Keep fighting the good fight and keep up the good work!

God bless you!