Faith 'n' Reason Fridays

From MXnet
Jump to: navigation, search
Post-it note pad.png

"Faith and Reason Free-for-all Bother-Father Facebookish Fridays."

On Fridays we strive most especially to think faithfully and believe intelligently.

Through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, “Father, open unto us the doors of thy loving kindness” (Saint Seraphim of Sarov).

The fundamental message is JOY. Joy evangelizes! This is a gift that God has given me. I have the power to express joy and to make people feel joyful, to be a light in the darkness to them, to speak a word of comfort to those who are suffering, to be compassionate to the weak and bewildered. The first and the last word is "joy!"

I want to learn how to do the Prologue without reading what I've written. I want to speak from the heart, being as spontaneous, direct, and personal as I can be. "Cor ad cor loquitur!"

We are calling all Catholics

to love God whole-heartedly;
to repent of their own sins and to make reparation for the sins that have been committed by other Catholics;
to gather soul food to feed themselves, their families, and their neighbors;
to ruminate on--chew over--the mysteries of the faith, because they take a while to digest;
to share what they have learned or are learning about how God loves us.
Even though the title of the show is directed to our Catholic brothers and sisters, we are eager to talk to any of our listeners who want to understand what the Church teaches, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof.

Knowledge God, knowledge of His will

Col 1:9-11

9 Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding

10 to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God,

11 strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.

Hebrews 13:7-9

7 Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching. It is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace and not by foods, which do not benefit those who live by them.

Worship in Spirit and in Truth

John 4:22-24

22 You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.

23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.

Convince, Reprimand, Encourage

2 Tim 4:1-5

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:

2 proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers

4 and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.

5 But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.

Bible Hub.

1 Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ·

2 κήρυξον τὸν λόγον, ἐπίστηθι εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως, ἔλεγξον, ἐπιτίμησον, παρακάλεσον, ἐν πάσῃ μακροθυμίᾳ καὶ διδαχῇ.

3 ἔσται γὰρ καιρὸς ὅτε τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας οὐκ ἀνέξονται, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύσουσιν διδασκάλους κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν,

4 καὶ ἀπὸ μὲν τῆς ἀληθείας τὴν ἀκοὴν ἀποστρέψουσιν, ἐπὶ δὲ τοὺς μύθους ἐκτραπήσονται.

5 σὺ δὲ νῆφε ἐν πᾶσιν, κακοπάθησον, ἔργον ποίησον εὐαγγελιστοῦ, τὴν διακονίαν σου πληροφόρησον.

The Vision Thing

We are calling all Catholics to see how the world looks through the eyes of faith.
Blind faith (a.k.a. "fideism") is a vice, not a virtue.
Faith without reason is stunted and immature; reason without faith is misleading.
Faith is a vision of reality granted to us by God-revealing-God.
Everything looks different when we see the world through the eyes of faith. "Let those who have eyes to see, see, and those who have ears to hear, hear!"

We Apologize

We have good reasons for what we believe.
The goal of "Faith 'n' Reason Fridays" is to think faithfully and believe intelligently so that we may:
  • Preach Jesus faithfully.
  • Love our neighbor as Jesus has loved us.
We should be able to provide the reasons for our belief.
In the Catholic tradition, faith is rational, free, supernatural, and certain. Faith is not a blind act or a leap in the dark. It is a step that our intellect sees is "right and just and fitting and helpful for our salvation."
God created us as intelligent beings. Our powers of the intellect are part of being in the "image and likeness" of God (Gen 1:27-18). God is not offended by our thinking about what and why we believe. On the contrary, Peter tells us we should "always be ready to give an explanation [Greek: apologos] to anyone who asks you for a reason [Greek: logos--word, logic, reason, principle] for your hope" (1 Pet 3:15).

Learning Christ

Eph 4:17

17 So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;

18 darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart,

19 they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess.

20 That is not how you learned Christ,

21 assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus,

22 that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,

23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

24 and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Thinking with the Church

I believe what the Church teaches and I aim to teach what the Church believes.
Faith 'n' Reason Fridays have the same goal as that of Vatican II: "To strive calmly to show the strength and beauty of the doctrine of the faith" (John Paul II, "Fidei Depositum").
Eph 4:11-16

11And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,

12to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

13until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ,

14so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.

15Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,

16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body's growth and builds itself up in love.

1 Peter 3:8-9
All of you should be like-minded, sympathetic, loving toward one another, kindly disposed, and humble. Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult. Return a blessing instead. This you have been called to do, that you may receive a blessing as your inheritance.

Mystagogy

St. Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." Our minds are hungry until they feed on truth. We sink our teeth into the mysteries of the faith and ruminate on them.
"My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work" (Jn 4:34).
The mysteries of the faith are not obstacles to understanding but deep springs of living water. We know enough to know how little we know. "With joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation" (Is 12:3).
"'Mysteries' in religion are not truths of which we can know nothing but truths of which we cannot know everything" (Frank Sheed, The Action of the Holy Spirit, p. 57).
"Pasta primavera" is "springtime pasta." We enjoy the first fruits of the garden. We feast on fruit of the Tree of Life.
"If God were small enough to be understood, He wouldn't be big enough to be God!" This is actually a homey and memorable version of a teaching of the Church from the Fourth Lateran Council: "God is always greater than that to which we compare Him."
Some people use turn this insight into God's infinite greatness against the revelation God made in Jesus: "If people say things about God that I can understand, they must be wrong." This quickly leads to preferring spirituality to religion and the abolition of the Christian tradition. Jesus never had a small God, but neither did He denigrate the value of preaching the gospel in language that people can understand.
We know enough to know how little we know--but we do know what we know: God loved us and sent the Son to save us from sin by dying and to save us from death by rising from the dead. "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Cor 9:16).

Psychology -- Loving with Understanding

Lovers want to know and to be known. They are eager to reveal themselves to the beloved, and to have the beloved revealed to them.
"Away from me. I do not know you!" (Mt 7:23).
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil 4:8).
We are Calling All Catholics to think about these things (Phil 4:8):
- whatever is true,
- whatever is honorable,
- whatever is just,
- whatever is pure,
- whatever is lovely,
- whatever is gracious,
- anything excellent,
- anything praiseworthy.

We are Calling All Catholics to think faithfully and believe intelligently.

Josef Pieper, "On Faith."
An altogether incomprehensible communication is no communication at all. There is no way either to believe or not to believe it or its author. For belief to be possible at all, it is assumed that the communication has in some way been understood. (Faith Hope Love, 24).
Frank Sheed, Knowing God: God and the Human Condition, 30-31.
And indeed the purely academic mind has a habit of siphoning the blood out of truth before presenting it back to the pupil, which means, to come back to our starting point, that the pupil is not really getting the doctrine but only the terms. For there is a proper interaction between knowledge and love. Knowledge serves love; each new truth learned is a new reason for loving God. Love craves knowledge, craves to know; it would be strange to love God and not want to know more and more about him.
Love craves not only to know but to be known. That surely is why Christ revealed to us the inmost secret of the divine life, which is the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. As man, he gave what he himself had called the greatest proof of love, he laid down his life for us; as God, he laid his life open to us. It is strange enough that so many Christians should ignore this proof of his love, leaving the Trinity to others as a burden too heavy for themselves; it is surely incredible that they should do so in the name of love--as if they were trying to keep their love of God untarnished by that knowledge of himself which in his love he offers to us.

Philosophy -- "Love of Wisdom"

It takes philosophy to fix a philosophy.

Teaching faith to think and reason to believe is the task of systematic theology. St. Thomas Aquinas set the pattern for the union of faith and reason in the 13th century (1225-1274 AD). In his view, a sound philosophy is the handmaid of theology, just as today mathematics is the handmaid of science. Philosophy is not theology, nor is mathematics physics, but it is impossible to do theology without a philosophy or to do physics without mathematics. If the philosophical assumptions used in theological reasoning are unsound, the theology will be unsound.
Col 1:9-11

9 Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understandinge

10 to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God,

11 strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.

Col 2:8 Col 2:8
See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy [φιλοσοφίας] according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.[1]
Pascal
"Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him, the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity then, consists in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor then, to think well; this is the principle of morality."
"Doctrine Is Not Just about Doctrine."
Faith is above reason, but is not unreasonable.

Truth is Soul-Food

"Living the truth in love" Eph 4:15.
Our culture is starving for the truth of the gospel.
We cannot effectively clear the ground and produce good fruit unless we use the power tools provided by the Holy Spirit to do so.
Frank Sheed, A Map of Life: A Simple Study of the Catholic Faith, 82.
For to call a doctrine a mystery is not to warn men's mind off it, as though it were something on which thought cannot profitably be employed; it is to be thought of rather as an endless gallery, into which we can advance ever deeper, to the great enrichment of our minds, but to the end of which we shall never come. Or better still, think of it as an inexhaustible well from which for all eternity we can drink our fill yet which in all eternity we shall never drink to the last drop--so that we shall never know thirst. This infiniteness of truth is the most splendid assurance we can have of eternal happiness, for it means that the mind can progress forever, that yet it will never reach the end of truth. This inexhaustibility of truth is our guarantee against stagnation of the mind; it guarantees to our minds the possibility of progress through all eternity.
Mystery then is not the prohibition of thinking, but actually an invitation to think. The mysteries revealed by God are revealed as food for the mind, not as dangerous things that should be left alone.
Ps 51:8
Indeed, you love truth in the heart;
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.

Choir rehearsal

People sometimes use the phrase "preaching to the choir" as if it were synonymous with "wasting one's breath, but the Body must be fed if it is to grow strong, be healed of its wounds, and be equipped to preach the Good News to the whole world.
Spiritual exercises
Each virtue is like a muscle--"use it or lose it." During this show, we give our minds a workout so that they become stronger, have greater endurance, can see more than before, and are ready for new challenges. "The mind is never so much itself as when it has been lately overthrown" (JHN).

One-room Schoolhouse

We cover everything, from pre-school to post-graduate questions. It can be a little chaotic. It takes some getting used to.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly" (GKC).
"Take what you like and heave the rest."

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Think to thank.
G. K. Chesterton called thanks "the highest form of thought" (The Universe According to G. K. Chesterton, p. 112). The better we understand God's hidden and mysterious plan of salvation, "hidden from all ages, but now revealed in Christ" (St. Paul), the better we can thank and praise God for the "wonders of His love."
Eph 3:9-10

8 To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,

9 and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things,

10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.

Minding Jesus

We are supposed to love God with our minds.
"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself" (Lk 10:27).
God calls us to grow up.
Questioning the faith with faith is not contrary to the faith. Fideism, "blind faith," is a vice, not a virtue.
"When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things" (1 Cor 13:11).
Change of mind accompanies change of heart.
"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect" (Rom 12:2).
We are called "think in harmony with one another."
"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 15:5-6).
"Same mind, same love."
"If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing" (Phil 2:1-2).
We need "eyes to see and ears to hear."
Amor dat oculos.

We know something they don't know

Matthew 13:10-11

10 The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”

11 He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

Luke 1:76-79

76 You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

77 to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.

78 In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

79 to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Understanding produces good fruit

Matthew 13:23
But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, goodness, modesty, and chastity.
Ps 32:9
Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding; whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle, or else they will not stay near you.

Spiritual warfare

When we are on the air, we are involved in spiritual warfare.

The enemy loves to get us confused; then we are easy prey for temptation.

Thinking clearly about the faith is hard work, but it fortifies us against the enemy's attacks.

2 Cor 10:3-6

3 For, although we are in the flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh,

4 for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments

5 and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ,

6 and we are ready to punish every disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

"Calling All Catholics" is directly engaged in the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy. When we are on the air, we:

  • Admonish the sinner.
  • Instruct the ignorant.
  • Counsel the doubtful.
  • Comfort the sorrowful.
  • Bear wrongs patiently.
  • Forgive all injuries.
  • Pray for the living and the dead.

The lines are open

We are on an open party line.
Despite the title of the show, we very much welcome calls and correspondence from our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in the Lord, as well as from agnostics, atheists, and non-Christians.

Taglines

"Catholic Conference Call"
"Catholic Conversation"
The heart is the seat of wisdom. It is our heart that keeps our minds on track (CSL, Abolition of Man). Another name for the show (John Henry Newman's motto): "Cor ad cor loquitur"--"Heart to Heart." Or "Heart of Wisdom."
"Food for thought"--"Catholic Soul Food."
"Answer Priest"
"Wise Guys."
"Bless Me Father."
"Fatherly Advice."
"Open Line Father."
"Fathers On Call."
"You're all Catholics; you just don't know it yet."
"Any topic, anybody, any time."
"You all look Catholic to us."
"Fathers speaking for Mother Church."
"Simon Peter says, 'Call father!'"
"Call for a priest!"
"You're all Catholic now."
"Our topic is Catholicism, but our audience is all of you. Feel free to call, whether you are Catholic or not."
"You have questions? We have answer priests."
"Our priests are here for you."
"Got questions? We've got priests."
"If you have questions about the Catholic Church, we have priests who can answer them."
"Do we have a priest for you!"
"Bless me, Father, for I have wondered."
"Wise guys."
"Some Fatherly Advice."
"Open Line Father."
"Fathers On Call."
Jimmy Akin already as "the fathers know best."
"Not yet Catholic? Welcome!"
"We're calling non-Catholics, too, but couldn't fit that idea in a nice punchy name."
"The name doesn't mean non-Catholics can't call."
"All are welcome."
"Our topic is Catholicism, but we welcome non-Catholic callers to join the conversation."
"We're talking Catholic all the time, but we'll talk with anyone who will talk with us."
"The Catholic Church is here for you, too."
"Atheists, agnostics, Protestants, ex-Catholics, and non-Catholics--we'll take your questions, too!"
"Only two kinds of people in the world: Catholics and those who are called to become Catholic. We're calling all of you to think with the Church."
"Phone priests: if you won't come to Church, the Church will come to you."

References

  1. This is the only appearance of φιλοσοφίας in the Bible--but it is there!