Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

7/10/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

If we do not see this when we look at the universe, if we do not see the universe as God-bathed, then we are not seeing reality correctly

We need to know where we come from and where we are headed, our final end. Our desire for truth and happiness is the fuel that drives our search, and it points the way like the needle on a compass or the North Star.

Article Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/10/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Catholic Church, Catechism, Catechesis, Belief, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - The first paragraph in Part One of the Catechism raises one of the most fundamental questions we can ask. It says, "Before expounding the Church's faith, . . . we must first ask what 'to believe' means?" (26).  The first three chapters in the Catechism are devoted to answering this question. They focus on the search, divine Revelation, and our response.

Chapter One focuses on our search for the ultimate meaning of life. We need to know who and what we are, where we come from and where we are headed, our final end. Our desire for truth and happiness is the fuel that drives our search, and it points the way like the needle on a compass or the North Star.

If we are honest with ourselves and willing to make the effort that the search requires, we will discover that "Only in God will we find the truth and happiness that we never stop searching for" (27). The desire for God is written in our hearts, because we are created by God and for God, and He is ceaselessly drawing us to Himself.

Our dignity rests on the fact God has called us to communion with Him. Our very existence is predicated upon God having created us through love, and continuing to hold us in existence through love. Moreover, we cannot live fully according to truth unless we freely acknowledge that love and entrust ourselves to our creator.

In his Confessions, Saint Augustine wrote, "Despite everything, man, though but a small part of our creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (30).

However, this bond between God and man can be forgotten, overlooked, or explicitly rejected. We are witnessing such a rejection today, and I believe it is on a scale of unprecedented proportions. Therefore, I want to reflect on our original question about belief in more detail and in terms of belief as it stands today.

In his book, Introduction to Christianity, then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) asked a similar question: "What is the meaning and significance of the Christian profession 'I believe' today, in the context of our present existence and our present attitude to reality as a whole?"

Ratzinger says that "a new concept of truth and reality has gradually developed in modern thinking and living." He is referring to our contemporary scientific attitude; however, this attitude is not science, it is scientism.

Scientism has changed the concept of truth and how we view reality and ourselves. It molds our feeling for life. We see ourselves today in terms of material facts. The meaning of our life is reduced to phenomena and chance. These changes have undermined modern man's ability to believe. Ratzinger says we are "chocked by doubt."

Belief is the kernel of Christianity. It seeks another mode of access to reality. It enlarges our whole view of the world and seeks a mode of behavior toward being, existence, reality as a whole. Belief operates on a separate plane from science.

Science is ordered to the realm of the material, and belief is ordered to the realm of basic decisions. Ratzinger says everyone must adopt some kind of attitude toward the realm of basic decisions that can only be made based on belief. Consequently, everyone must have some sort of belief. It is what makes it possible to exist in a human way.

Belief is a human way of taking up a stand in the totality of reality that gives us meaning. We cannot create meaning, we can only move toward it, receive it as a gift and try to understand it. Ratzinger says we do not live in material reality alone, but in the intrinsically human part of our being where we find meaning and love.

As Christians, to believe means entrusting ourselves to the meaning that upholds and maintains us. So the Christian faith is not "we believe in something," but "we believe in you." Christianity not only embraces the belief that there is such a thing as objective meaning but that this meaning knows us and loves us, that we can entrust ourselves to it, for "it" is "someone," Jesus, the logos who upholds and maintains all things.

This raises another question in our mind: Does it really matter what we believe? To help us reflect on this question, I will turn to Frank Sheed. In his book, Theology and Sanity, Sheed asks us to consider what the Church sees when she looks at the universe. He tells us that she sees all things, including each one of us, being held in existence at each moment by nothing except the will of God.

This reality goes to the heart of who and what we are. God used no material when He created us. God made us from nothing. Our existence has nothing to stand on or support it, except the love of God which desires us, loves us, and wills to hold us in existence. We are completely dependent upon God's love for our existence at this very moment and every second of our life.

If we do not see this when we look at the universe, if we do not see the universe as "God-bathed," then we are not seeing reality correctly. Sheed says, if we are wrong about this one thing, then we are wrong about everything. At the very least, everything depends on our belief! 

 -----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

-----

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Year of Faith

Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


Tuesday Homily: Conversion and Perseverance in the Life of Faith Watch

Image of Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see the Lord. Such an act could have led to great mockery for a middle-aged public figure. But Zacchaeus didn't care about others' seeing him and the derision that might ensue. He wanted to see the Lord and no obstacle was going to stop him. His example challenges each of us to consider what is the extent to which we go, what trees or obstacles we'll climb, in order to see Jesus more clearly

By Fr. Roger J. Landry

As the Year of Faith draws to a conclusion, we, like Zacchaeus, are called to repent all those times that we haven't set an example of faith for others. And through the intercession of the martyrs Eleazar and Polycarp, we ask God for the grace to set such an example of ... continue reading


We Are all Going to Die. The Important Question is How Are We Living? Watch

Image of We decide whether we use time for bearing good fruit or are used by time as a tyrant who frightens us as we fruitlessly try to resist his claim on our perceived youth. This act of choosing rightly helps us to develop a disposition; a way of living that involves the proper exercise of our human freedom aided by grace. When time is welcomed as an opportunity for bearing the fruits of love and holiness, we receive it in love, perceive it as a field of choice and build an environment for holiness

By Deacon Keith Fournier

As we consider the timeline of God's unfolding plan, the redemption of the whole cosmos, the God who gives and governs time, invites us to re-dedicate ourselves to living differently, in time.  We are to live as though time really does matter. We are invited by ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2014 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter