Tuesday 22nd January 2019

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Obedience Of Faith

July 19, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

For the past ten weeks of this series, we’ve been unpacking the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on how God comes to meet man through His divine Revelation. As the Catechism, citing Dei Verbum (DV), so beautifully expresses it, “the invisible God, from the fullness of His love, addresses men as His friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into His own company” (CCC, n. 142; DV, n. 2).
Just this one statement is a mystery of our faith that one could meditate on for a lifetime: How is it that the “King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Tim. 1:17) could so love mankind, sinful and ungrateful as we are, to such a degree as to desire, even thirst, to take us as His friends, to receive us into His own company? How is it that He desires for us to be with Him for all eternity in Heaven? Keeping this unfathomable mystery in mind, we’ll now turn our attention to examining what man’s response to God should be.
The Catechism, in a word, teaches very clearly that “the adequate response to this invitation is faith” (CCC, n. 142). Now, what exactly is meant by faith in this context? Going directly to the word of God, the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1) and later says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please [God]. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Fr. John Hardon, SJ, in his customary clear and candid manner, states just how important our freely given response of faith is. Referring directly to the books of the Bible that are “the heart of all the Scriptures” (CCC, n. 125), he says, “If anything is clear from the Gospels it is the call to a free response of faith in God’s Revelation of Himself in the person of Christ. How otherwise explain that terrifying passage in the closing verses of Mark where the Master states without reservation that ‘he who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned’ (Mark 16:16)” (The Catholic Catechism, p. 32)?
The Catechism further teaches that “by faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God. . . . Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God . . . ‘the obedience of faith’” (CCC, n. 143). Dei Verbum, citing the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius (DF) from Vatican Council I, expands on this: “‘The obedience of faith’…is to be given to God Who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God Who reveals’ (DF, chapter 3), and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving ‘joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it’ (DF, chapter 3)” (DV, n. 5).
Two central points of what we believe as Catholics have been highlighted in the above citation: 1) our commitment of self and assent to God’s truth must be given freely, and 2) it is only through God’s grace and the assistance of the Holy Spirit that this is possible. In other words, man must exercise his free will and unconditionally choose to respond to the gift of God’s love — to return His love — and to give his intellectual assent to all that God has revealed. However, since our natures are fallen, it is only through God’s manifold grace and the ongoing assistance of the Holy Spirit that this is possible.
As Douglas Bushman, STL, expresses it in The Sixteen Documents of Vatican II, “The text [of Dei Verbum] stresses that the response of faith must be freely given. This is made possible by the grace of the Holy Spirit Who moves the heart and turns it to God” (p. 405).
It was St. Paul who identified faith as a form of obedience. In his Letter to the Romans, he uses the precise expression “the obedience of faith” on two occasions (see Romans 1:5 and 16:26). What is the link, then, between faith and obedience? The word “obey” comes from the Latin ob-audire which means “to listen to.” When we obey in faith, we “submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, Who is Truth itself” (CCC, n. 144).
In an article entitled “Obedience to the Magisterium and the Responsibility of the Bishop Toward the Laity” (http://mariancatechist.com/burke/obedience_responsibility.html), Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke expounds on this by teaching: “When we obey [in faith], we listen attentively to the Word of Christ handed on to us in the Church, we believe what we hear, and we put what we believe into practice.” In other words, it is not enough simply to hear God’s word or even to believe what we have heard — we must take it to heart so decisively and firmly that it becomes who we are and how we live our lives.
As a model of the obedience of faith, the Catechism offers to us the Old Testament patriarch Abraham as “the father of all who believe.” Fr. Hardon summarizes the Catechism’s teaching on how Abraham is our father in faith by listing the following three reasons: 1) he was chosen to be the ancestor of all believers on account of his faith; 2) he fulfilled the definition of faith in the New Testament in Heb. 11:1 (as quoted earlier in the column); and 3) his faith is a prelude of what our greater faith should be, “believing in Jesus, the Son of God” (see The Faith, p. 35). St. Paul writes, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Romans 1:4), and in a parallel Old Testament passage we find similar words: “[Abraham] believed the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).
Let’s consider just one example from Sacred Scripture of the depth of Abraham’s obedience of faith. He was promised by God that he would be the “father of a multitude of nations” (Gen. 17:5). Yet it was not until he was far advanced in years that “Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age” (Gen. 21:2). He “was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him” (Gen. 21:5). Now fast-forward a few years to the account of the sacrifice of Isaac in Gen. 22. Abraham, in obedience of faith, was but an instant from plunging a knife into his dearly beloved son Isaac in sacrifice to God when the angel of the Lord stayed his hand. What incredible faith Abraham possessed in not withholding his only son! Is it any wonder that he is referred to as the father of all who believe, and that he is a model for us?
Just as Abraham is the model of “the obedience of faith” offered to us by Sacred Scripture, the Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment (cf. CCC, n. 144). “By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that ‘with God nothing will be impossible’ and so giving her assent: ‘Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:37-38)” (CCC, n. 148). Mary’s response perfectly expressed the disposition of complete and unconditional obedience — she is the model for what our response should be to God’s will in our daily lives. Her faith never wavered, and for this reason “the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith” (CCC, n. 149).
To close this installment, I invite you to reflect on an inspiring excerpt from Fr. Michael Gaitley’s recently published book 33 Days to Morning Glory: “She [Mary] is perfectly united to the Holy Spirit, because she was conceived without sin, never sinned, and always does the will of God perfectly. She allows the Holy Spirit to overshadow her, take possession of her soul, and bear fruit through her. The Holy Spirit delights in always working in and through Mary to save all other creatures made in God’s image” (p. 110).

+    +    +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Wow—first, Dreamers shafted by Obama, who enforced DACA w/o congressional approval & failed to ensure them a permanent path to citizenship, and now they’re left hanging by Pelosi & her ilk. Maybe Dems don’t care about them as much as they pretend to?

BBC Breaking News on Twitter

“Trump offers Democrats deal on immigration in bid to end shutdown but top Democrat Pelosi calls it "unacceptable" https://t.co/edz3WEREm3&#8221...

twitter.com

it is striking how so many advocates of abortion in public life cling to their frayed fabric of fantasy and repeat the mantra — “I’m personally opposed but. . . .” https://t.co/TwIrf7G6GT

Load More...

Trump defends Covington students, says they were ‘treated unfairly…smeared by media’

January 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Tonight, President Donald Trump tweeted in support of the Covington Catholic High School students “smeared by media,” noting early judgments about the kids’ encounter with a Native American activist were proven to be false. Trump tagged Tucker…Continue Reading

Priest gives pulpit to homosexual partners to share ‘witness’ story prior to Sunday Mass

Update Jan. 18, 2019: St. Joan of Arc pulled the video this morning of the two homosexual men giving their pre-Mass presentation. We are now using a source for the video provided by Complicit Clergy.  MINNEAPOLIS, MN, January 17, 2019…Continue Reading

China’s crackdown on Christians continues

Beijing, China, Jan 15, 2019 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A campaign by the Chinese government to ‘Sinicize’ religion is ongoing, with detention and indoctrination of Muslims in the far west of the country, and the closing of underground churches…Continue Reading

Cdl. Wuerl will not celebrate youth Mass prior to March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl will not celebrate the Archdiocese of Washington’s January 18 Mass for Life, which is scheduled to occur before the annual March for Life. Instead, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to…Continue Reading

Support Archbishop Viganò on his 78th birthday!

January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, turns 78 years old today. Born in northern Italy, Archbishop Viganò was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. He spent the next several…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading

CARDINAL CUPICH KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR DISSIDENT PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Vatican doubles down: denies Pope knew of sexual allegations against Argentine bishop

ROME, January 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican is doubling down on claims it knew nothing about Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta’s alleged sexual abuse of seminarians when Pope Francis appointed him to a key position that handles the Holy See’s real estate and financial holdings. In a statement released today, the Vatican insisted they only heard of the allegations in autumn 2018. This, despite claims earlier this week from the bishop’s former vicar general that the Pope was informed of the allegations in…Continue Reading

Pope Francis issues decree suppressing ‘Ecclesia Dei’

ROME, January 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As had been anticipated for several weeks, Pope Francis has formally suppressed the pontifical commission charged with keeping traditional Catholics united with the Successor of Peter, and has transferred its duties to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In a “motu proprio” signed on Jan. 17 and released today (see full text below), the Pope decreed that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei be abolished, but that all of its work “of vigilance, promotion…Continue Reading

Trump promises to veto any abortion legislation in March for Life address

trump

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a surprise appearance, President Donald Trump addressed pro-life advocates at the 2019 March for Life, telling them that “every life is worth protecting” and that he will veto any legislation that crosses his desk that “weakens the protection of human life.” “Today, I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the

How to watch March for Life 2019 LIVE

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, marchers will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a series of speeches and music before marching to the Supreme Court building, where Roe v. Wade forced all 50 states to allow abortion in 1973. EWTN is offering live coverage of the 20

Vatican: Abuse summit to help bishops know ‘what they need to do’

Vatican City, Jan 16, 2019 / 06:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Just over a month ahead of the much-anticipated February meeting on sex abuse, the Vatican said the summit’s goal is for bishops to leave the meeting knowing clearly what it is they need to do to stop the abuse of minors. According to a statement by papal spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti Jan. 16, the February meeting “has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Unity And Tyranny

By DONALD DeMARCO When an interviewer asked what keeps him up at night, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke of the “polarization” that “really does worry me.” One of the responsibilities of the leader of a nation is to encourage unity. In this regard, it would appear that Trudeau’s expressed concern is congruent with that…Continue Reading

McCarrick Accuser Says . . . “Unfathomable” That Wuerl Forgot Allegations

By ED CONDON WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The man who made a 2004 accusation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick said January 16 he is in disbelief after Donald Cardinal Wuerl told him he forgot about the allegation sometime after becoming Washington’s archbishop in 2006. In a January 15 letter, Wuerl wrote to Washington, D.C.,…Continue Reading

St. Jerome Emiliani… A Father To All The Fatherless

By RAY CAVANAUGH St. Jerome Emiliani transformed from a spiritually wayward young man into a priest known for inexhaustible charity — even though such charity was a hazardous occupation in a sixteenth-century Italy often stricken by plague. His transformation would ultimately lead to sainthood and a universal patronage. February 8 is his feast day. Born…Continue Reading

Is Bolton Steering Trump Into War With Iran?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” implored President Donald Trump in a Sunday, January 13 night tweet. Well, if he is serious, Trump had best keep an eye on his national security adviser, for a U.S. war on Iran would be a dream come true for John Bolton. Last September, when Shiite militants…Continue Reading

Pope To Diplomats . . . Remember Transcendent Dimension Of Human Persons

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — Upholding the dignity of the human person and the rule of law are essential for good politics, Pope Francis said January 7 to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Such politics promote the common good and establish and maintain peace between nations, he said, by…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Word Of God Is Intended For Everyone

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Neh. 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10 1 Cor. 12:12-30 Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21 The Church is very clear in teaching us that every person is created equal. Sadly, many people have difficulty believing this teaching or, if it is believed in the mind, putting it into practice has proven to be…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Sin And Clericalism: Two Different Things

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Often one points now to those outside of the visible confines of the Church to find persons who actually follow the teachings of the Church. Many Catholic schools have already commenced a compromise with the inevitable onslaught of child enrollments for families of same-sex parents. Give in on marriage redefinition and redefine the family as…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops… Answering Objections Leveled Against The Priesthood

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 9 In this article we respond to objections against the Catholic priesthood. The first and most common objection is: “The words ‘priest’ and ‘bishop’ are not in the Bible.” Reply: It is amazing how the objections coming from Protestants — and even from some superficial Catholics — are so inconsistent. Every Protestant believes in…Continue Reading

The Theological Virtues — Charity

By DON FIER As we reflected last week on Pope Benedict XVI’s brilliant critique of the crisis of hope in the modern world as set forth in his 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi (SS), we saw that for many, “hope in the Kingdom of God has been displaced by hope in the kingdom of man, the hope of a better world…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. It is my understanding that if a priest is removed from active service, the bishop continues to support him financially. Am I right? Is there a similar obligation if the priest is laicized? I would suppose there is no such obligation of support if the priest decides he doesn’t want to be a priest anymore and walks away. Does…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Calabria

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Teresa of Calcutta answered a call within a call by founding the Missionaries of Charity to help the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. Soon her apostolic endeavors to serve the most destitute of persons spread throughout the world, while she said that the greatest poverty is in the West where people do not know…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading