Crisis unveils valuable moment to show devotion to Christ
“Faith Seeking Understanding” is a phrase attributed to St. Anselm. It asserts succinctly the nature of the search of truth under the light of faith, which emphasizes our yearning to understand more perfectly — to see, as much as is possible, the truth about the human person, his life, and eternal destiny. The believer seeks to understand what he holds by faith, and his belief is itself an aid in the pursuit of the truth. As St. Anselm said, “I do not seek to understand so that I can believe, but I believe so that I may understand… I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.”
Today we face a critical period in the Church’s life, affecting our families, parishes, communities, and world. Fueled by decades of superficial and false catechesis, millions of Church faithful are confused about fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith and the moral law — marriage, family, human sexuality, and the dignity of life. However, this crisis presents an opportunity for us to express our devotion to Christ the Truth. It is time the faith becomes our most intimate and valuable treasure.
In his encyclical God Is Love, Pope Benedict XVI said that Jesus’ dying for us on the cross is “love in its most radical form.” Our desire is to deepen our love of Him who first loved us, to constantly reflect on God’s goodness. As the pearl of great price, we want to know Him better, to be His follower and friend — “Lord, you know that I love you!” Called to this greater love, we seek, ask, and knock, desiring to deepen our personal relationship with Him.
We must first seek greater intimacy with God through prayer. Jesus is our model, and we desire to mirror His actions. So, what does He teach us? Throughout the Gospel accounts, the Evangelists expose us to our Lord’s habitual attitude of prayer. In all matters, He turns to the Father. We too need to aspire to be contemplative souls — at home, in the street, and at work, remaining in conversation with the Father, following the Master.
Our faith and understanding are further deepened by attendance at daily Mass, frequent Confession, daily prayer with Scripture, and study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, encyclicals, and the lives of the saints. This formation in faith helps us to cultivate wisdom of intellect and heart, to be well-formed disciples.
The best indication of growth in faith and advancement in the life of virtue is our love and service of our brothers and sisters. Do we practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy? Do we share our greatest treasure, our faith, when prompted by the Holy Spirit? St. Teresa of Avila wisely noted that it is difficult to know if we love God. “But,” she said, “we can know if we love our neighbor. And the more we advance in this love, the greater likewise will be our love for God.”
Without a pursuit for holiness, depth of prayer, a life of virtue, expansion in one’s knowledge of the faith, and a life nourished by the sacraments, the heart is in danger of being ensnared by the allurement of an earthly life devoid of God. The day we no longer love God, our world will become cold and lifeless, deprived of its most precious good. Ours is to burn with love for our faith, and to desire and foster its growth in our hearts. Then we will not only defend it, but also share this treasured possession, bringing truth and life to those who are confused and lost.
FATHER SHENAN J. BOQUET is president of Human Life International (www.hli.org) and a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, LA. Please keep Human Life International in your continued prayers and support.