Friday, July 30, 2010

Faith and Reason

Last week, I reflected on the need for faith, reason and love in our dialogue with the world. Pope John Paul II wrote an encyclical on this very subject just twelve years ago. In his conclusion he said:
I ask everyone to look more deeply at man, whom Christ has saved in the mystery of his love, and at the human being's unceasing search for truth and meaning. Different philosophical systems have lured people into believing that they are their own absolute master, able to decide their own destiny and future in complete autonomy, trusting only in themselves and their own powers. But this can never be the grandeur of the human being, who can find fulfillment only in choosing to enter the truth, to make a home under the shade of Wisdom and dwell there. Only within this horizon of truth will people understand their freedom in its fullness and their call to know and love God as the supreme realization of their true self. (Fides et Ratio, no. 107. Sept. 14, 1998).
There can be no happiness and fulfillment without the truth. This means we need the Faith and our understanding of it correctly through reason. Denial of God is a denial of who and what we are. Each of us is created by God. He has made each person in His own image and likeness. If we denigrate this image and likeness, we cannot arrive at the truth of who we are.

Without God, people are the arbiters of what is right and what is wrong, of what is good and what is bad. It boils down to the ones who hold the most power and wealth to make judgments for the rest of us. And who can say if this is really for the good of us all?

Because we have a relationship with God that may not be abjured, it is wrong to exclude Him from the public sphere. It is not helpful to compartmentalize Him only to churches and our homes. We should not park God and our Faith at the front door. We are who we are wherever we go and whatever we do. We are sons and daughters of God Who has a plan for each one of us.

Pope John Paul ended the encyclical with this invocation:
May Mary, Seat of Wisdom, be a sure haven for all who devote their lives to the search for wisdom. May their journey into wisdom, a sure and final goal of all true knowing, be freed of every hindrance by the intercession of the one who, in giving birth to the Truth and treasuring it in her heart, has shared it forever with all the world.
Father Stanley