“Carrying Christ”
Into the hillside country Mary went
Carrying Christ, and all along the road
The Christ she carried generously bestowed
His grace on those she met. She had not meant
To tell she carried Christ. She was content
To hide His love for her. But about her glowed
Such joy that into stony hearts love flowed,
And even to the unborn John Christ’s grace was sent.
Christ in His Sacrament of love each day
Dwells in my soul a little space and then
I walk life’s crowded highway, jostling men
Who seldom think of God. To these I pray
That I may carry Christ, for it may be
Some would not know of Him except through me.
Ruth Mary Fox

A poem shared by Bishop Morneau with the deacons this weekend.

“Carrying Chris…

If I try by myself to swim across the ocean of this world, the waves will certainly engulf me. In order to survive I must climb aboard a ship made of wood; this wood is the Cross of Christ. Of course, even on board ship there will be dangerous tempests and perils from the sea of this world. But God will help me remain on board the ship and arrive safely at the harbor of eternal life.
St. Augustine

from “The Better Part” by John Bartunek, LC, ThD.

If I try by mys…

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 10-13-13

In God’s gift of faith, a supernatural infused virtue, we realize that a great love has been offered us, a good word has been spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us to joyfully advance along the way on the wings of hope.

Pope Francis, The Light of Faith 7

[Jesus said,] ‘It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’

Lk. 17: 19

Faith and gratitude are intimately connected. Faith is a gift from God. Faith is our capacity to accept the greatest gift that God has given us, salvation in Jesus Christ. It is an openness to the great love of God that is given to us in Jesus.

But if it is not exercised, this openness lies dormant. Like an open door, it swings in the wind, waiting for someone to enter. Or like a seed that is never watered, it lies dormant. Faith loses its purpose and becomes listless if left by itself. It must be acted upon and activated. Like all virtue, faith grows when it is used.

Gratitude is one of the primary ways we exercise our faith. Giving thanks to God opens our faith to new levels. It acknowledges the gift we have been given, and empowers us to receive even more.

All ten lepers received the gift of healing in the Gospel (Lk. 17:11-19), but only one exercised faith in offering thanks and praise to God. It was to this man that Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you.”

In our baptism each of us has been given the gift of faith. This week, exercise your faith by thanking God for all He has done for you in Jesus.

Peace,

Lincoln A. Wood

Faith and Reason: Encounter and Dialogue – Lumen Fidei 6

Picking up with the fourth section of Chapter 2….

Chapter two of the encyclical is divided into six sections.

  • Faith and Truth (23-25)
  • Knowledge of the truth and love (26-28)
  • Faith as hearing and sight (29-31)
  • The dialogue of faith and reason (32-34)
  • Faith and the search for God (35)
  • Faith and theology (36)

The dialogue of faith and reason (32-34)

Summary (feel free to skip to the reflection below)

The truth revealed by faith enters into dialogue with the truth discovered by reason.  This dialogue is seen in the early encounter of Christianity with Greek culture.

…the first Christians found in the Greek world, with its thirst for truth, an ideal partner in dialogue. The encounter of the Gospel message with the philosophical culture of the ancient world proved a decisive step in the evangelization of all peoples, and stimulated a fruitful interaction between faith and reason which has continued down the centuries to our own times (32).

The dialogue of faith and reason is also clearly seen in the mind and work of Augsutine.

In the life of Saint Augustine we find a significant example of this process whereby reason, with its desire for truth and clarity, was integrated into the horizon of faith and thus gained new understanding (33).

He did this by developing

a philosophy of light capable of embracing both the reciprocity proper to the word and the freedom born of looking to the light. Just as the word calls for a free response, so the light finds a response in the image which reflects it (33 emphasis added).

This philosophy finds its point of integration in the encounter with the radiant face of Jesus.

The light becomes, so to speak, the light of a word, because it is the light of a personal countenance, a light which, even as it enlightens us, calls us and seeks to be reflected on our faces and to shine from within us (33 emphasis added).

Because the light of truth is revealed in an encounter with the Other, it cannot be used to manipulate or control others.  It is a truth of love which leads to openness and humility.

Clearly, then, faith is not intransigent, but grows in respectful coexistence with others. One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us (34 emphasis added).

The light shining from the encounter with Jesus is not simply a spiritual light, unconnected to the material world.  Because of the incarnation, the radiance of faith enlightens all things and reveals the natural order of reality.

… the light of faith is an incarnate light radiating from the luminous life of Jesus. It also illumines the material world, trusts its inherent order and knows that it calls us to an ever widening path of harmony and understanding (34).

This light of faith benefits science as well by calling it to move beyond itself, recognizing the transcendent and retaining a sense of wonder.

The gaze of science thus benefits from faith: faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness. Faith awakens the critical sense by preventing research from being satisfied with its own formulae and helps it to realize that nature is always greater. By stimulating wonder before the profound mystery of creation, faith broadens the horizons of reason to shed greater light on the world which discloses itself to scientific investigation (34).

Reflection

It’s odd what sticks with you over time.

When I was in ninth grade I wrote a paper on evolution and creation.   Fundamentally my conclusion hasn’t changed:  there is no conflict.  Over time, I have differentiated my position, but fundamentally its clear to me that science (any form of science, not just evolution) cannot contradict faith.  Truth cannot contradict truth.  This means there must be a fundamental unity to truth.  No matter how we discover truth; whether it is using the scientific method, literary criticism, depth psychology, economics, critical reflection, or whatever, what we discover is part of a unified whole.

Pope Francis roots this unity in the light shining forth from the life of Jesus.  This light is perceived through the spiritual senses and is born of an encounter with Jesus.  It is clarified through discernment primarily through the life of the believer in the church.  This method is distinct from the scientific method but has a long tradition and pretty clear processes.  Religion has data and method, they are simply different from those of science.

A few years back I co-taught a course at the University of Wyoming on Science and Religion.  We used a text by Ian Barbour that outlined four paradigms for the interaction of science and religion (Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integration).  Pope Francis’ discussion of faith, rooting itself in Augustine’s “philosophy of light” falls in the integration camp (for more information see the Magis Center of Reason and Faith).  While dialogue is essential, at its deepest point, the life of Jesus integrates all ways of knowing.

Faith and reason can teach each other wonder and humility.  Truth is one.  It all fits together in some wonderful way.

To think about…

  1. How do you make sense out of the world?  What role does faith play in your life?  What about reason?  Science?  How do they relate?

Spiritual Senses – Lumen Fidei 5

Picking up with the third section of Chapter 2….

Chapter two of the encyclical is divided into six sections.

  • Faith and Truth (23-25)
  • Knowledge of the truth and love (26-28)
  • Faith as hearing and sight (29-31)
  • The dialogue of faith and reason (32-34)
  • Faith and the search for God (35)
  • Faith and theology (36)

Faith as hearing and sight (29-31)

Summary

“Faith comes from hearing” (Rom 10:17).  Faith, and the knowledge born of faith is personal.

it recognizes the voice of the one speaking, opens up to that person in freedom and follows him or her in obedience (29).

Thinking of faith as hearing emphasizes the fact that faith unfolds in time.

This has a different emphasis than thinking of faith as seeing which provides a comprehensive picture all at once.

Hearing emphasizes personal vocation and obedience, and the fact that truth is revealed in time. Sight provides a vision of the entire journey and allows it to be situated within God’s overall plan… (29).

Ultimately, faith as hearing and seeing becomes united in the person of Jesus.

How does one attain this synthesis between hearing and seeing? It becomes possible through the person of Christ himself, who can be seen and heard (30).

This focus on the person of Jesus moves us outside of ourselves.

This means that faith-knowledge does not direct our gaze to a purely inward truth. The truth which faith discloses to us is a truth centred on an encounter with Christ, on the contemplation of his life and on the awareness of his presence (30).

Beyond conceiving faith as hearing and sight, faith can also be understood as touch.

Saint John can speak of faith as touch, as he says in his First Letter: “What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life” (1 Jn1: 1)…

Saint Augustine, commenting on the account of the woman suffering from haemorrhages who touched Jesus and was cured (cf.   Lk   8: 45-46), says: “To touch him with our hearts: that is what it means to believe” (31 emphasis added).

Christian faith is fundamentally incarnational.

Reflection

As a kid I was fascinated by ESP, telepathy and other psychic phenomenon.  This section of Lumen Fidei explores faith from the perspective of “spiritual senses.”  Just as we have physical senses, we have spiritual senses.  These spiritual senses play a vital role in our faith because they put us in contact with Jesus.

Our eyes connect us with the physical world around us, so our spiritual eyes connect us with the spiritual world around us.  The same is true for our spiritual ears, hands, maybe even noses.  Saint Benedict exhorts his monks to “Listen with the ear of the heart.”  And St. Augustine sees the spiritual journey as “healing the eyes of the heart” (5).

Pope Francis comes from this tradition when he writes of faith as a form of hearing, sight, or touch.  (He could also have included the senses of smell and taste, I suppose).  Using the analogy of senses to describe faith helps us to understand the various ways faith is experienced.  The experience of faith is multi-dimensional.  Examining the reality of faith through the analogy of our senses enriches our experience.

All of this discussion of “spiritual senses” only makes sense due to the incarnation.  Senses put us in touch with something outside ourselves.  Faith puts us in touch with Jesus.  Sometimes, through faith, we hear Jesus voice.  Sometimes we see his face.  Sometimes we feel his healing touch.  Exploring our faith through the lens of spiritual senses can lead us to a deeper, richer, more complete experience of Jesus.

To think about…

  1. How is your faith like hearing, seeing, or touching?  Which “spiritual sense” do you utilize the most?