The Christian faith, demands an openness, to change and progress. Abraham, the father of the monotheistic faiths, departed his land upon the Divine order, for Canaan, which according to the Promise, his descendance would inherit. The Divine promise, was to make of Abraham, a great nation (Genesis 12:1). The life of Abraham, is that of the unfolding of the Divine Plan, the revelation of God, who demands the act of faith, in order to work out His purpose. He is a model of the Christian faith, for he is able in his act of faith, to sacrifice even that which is most precious to him – his own son, Isaac. It is this openness to the Divine operation that the Christian ought to cultivate; an openness, in fact, that being creative (even culturally creative), continually tests the human intelligence and demands a disposition to re-consider the human way of thinking, the pattern of mind and thought, that imprisons the human person, in the temporal life, that tragedy of the human condition.
On the way to the mount, Isaac asked Abraham, why, there was no sheep for the sacrifice, to which, Abraham responded: ““My son,” Abraham answered, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). It is such trust in the Divine economy, the Divine plan, that is the invitation for the believer. God demands a willingness to be open to the impossible, to the radical, to the inexplicable, to the miraculous. It is true, natural science seems to have put an end to the age of miracles, to the mythological and to the supernatural, by providing a naturalist explanation for the origins of man. Today, man has become a rationalist, if not, a skeptic, and human doctrine increasingly prevents him from developing, the attitude of abandon, that the life of faith necessitates.
Abraham had faith in God, and that faith, was counted as justice, as St. Paul states.
He believed, hoping against hope,l that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “Thus shall your descendants be.”19m He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body as [already] dead (for he was almost a hundred years old) and the dead womb of Sarah.20He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief;* rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God21and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do.n22That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”o
Certainly, the Catholic religion is a doctrine of faith and reason, where, faith illumines reason and reason, deepens the understanding of faith. It may be argued, however, that faith demands a certain obedience, a willingness to let go of a human pattern of thought, in order, to espouse, the Thought of God. In a sense, it demands an openness to deification, a supernatural participation in the eternal life of God, which is Love. As such, the Christian ought to practice the sacramental life, a listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit dwells in mystery, he urges a dedication to the spiritual life, a commitment to the Cross, a conformation to Jesus-Christ; a life, that is eminently Trinitarian, that is, Marian, for it proposes to live the Love of the Three Divine Persons in the life of the human person, imago dei.
The Christian, must continually re-evaluate himself, an examination of conscience, but also a pedagogy, a test, a programme of teaching, that inculcates the values of the gospel incarnate in human life: faith, obedience, openness, charity, humility, service, and the disposition to listen, in order to enter into communion.
Faith, is not opposed to reason. Rather, it perfects it, rendering it capable, of comprehending the Thought of God, which is mystery itself. It is not sufficient to be rational, it is necessary, however, to be reasonable; moreover, it is profitable, to be spiritual, and live a life, that, allows for the life of the body, and the salvation of the soul. The flame of faith, is nourished by the oil of prayer, which is practiced within the community in the sacramental life. As such, faith is at once personal and social. The human reason, requires faith, in order to live the mystery of the Logos, and incarnate His teaching in the human condition. Reason, is man’s highest faculty, yet, faith is the virtue that elevates reason to the eternal life and allows for man, to live according, to the Will of God.
Religion, reveals God, but also man. It presents the tentative, to educate the human person at the school of the Logos, and teach him, to participate in the Divine Liturgy, in the communion of the Trinity. In religion, body and soul, encounter the finality of human existence. Salvation, consists in an adventure, in an encounter with the Trinity, in a discipline at a school, in a scholarship, that teaches man mastery over his nature, and the happiness that consoles the tragedy of life. Abraham, reminds us, that, God demands the difficult from man, in order to achieve the impossible. The Christian attitude to history, eschews the spirit of calculation, the prevision of the future, by adhering to a spirit of sacrifice, that is obedience to charity, and an openness to a conformity to the Divine Thought. Such an attitude, is particularly important, in the edification of the just society, revealing that, justice does not commence in the ordering of the political structures, but rather, in the conformity to the Divine Will, and to a life that is lived according to faith, that is, according to charity. Love is demanding, and God demands of man, the perfection of nature.
In the final analysis, it can be stated that, man lives an adventure, a movement towards eternity, that demands openness and a re-consideration of his pattern of life and mode of thought. In faith, there is the certainty, that, simply by adhering to the Divine Will, by listening in prayer, and by living in charity, the human person, can attain to the perfection of nature. The human nature, in order to attain at salvation, demands a balance between the life of the body, and the passions of the soul; between the contemplation of reason, and the virtue of faith; between the movement towards immanence, and the desire for transcendence.
Christian, be willing to accept change, and listen, to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Catholic Church and invites man to communion, to the Feast at the banquet table.
“The wind* blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
– John 3:8