A Commentary on Catholic Catechism Articles
On Faith and Ignorance
Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. "Since "without faith it is impossible to please [God]" and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life `But he who endures to the end.'"This article of our faith might beg the question: "What about those who are ignorant of God... are they condemned to hell from the very start?"
On Freedom And Slave Labor
To be human, "man's response to God by faith must be free, and... therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act." "God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced... This fact received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus." Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them. "For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom... grows by the love with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself."I've never seen more misinformation in the secular world (and even within the Church community) on a subject than on the question of freedom and faith. Do a Google on "the Spanish inquisition" and you're bound to come up with page after page on how the Church imposed it's faith on the faithless. I'm not going to try to set that right-I don't have the time, patience, or even inclination to combat the secular media's war against Catholicism. There are many others fighting this battle, and I won't belittle their efforts with a half-hearted attempt.
Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience, but "the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives." "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt."
On What To Do When Reason Seems To FailWe hit upon this point in the last paragraph, and we talked a little about the way the saints have overcome so many difficulties because of their great faith. As Catholics, we record such heroes because we know that we're always going to come up with the same sort of challenges in our own lives, and it's nice to have an inspiring example to follow.
On Keeping Your Faith Alive
"Faith seeks understanding": it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts" to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the center of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood." In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe."Here's a tidbit of information on me: I used to be a bit of an expert on raising goats. That's right, goats. My father had them as I was growing up. I had some of my own as a teenager and young adult. Aside from raising the animals, I read about them constantly. Books, magazines, whatever I could find. I also kept in constant contact with other breeders who were willing to share information. I even started to write my own book about the subject.
On Reasonable Madness For God
What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe "because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived". So "that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit." Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability "are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all"; they are "motives of credibility" (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is "by no means a blind impulse of the mind".