Wednesday 24th August 2016

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

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Catholic school faculty member sues school after she’s fired for being gay

A lesbian teacher was fired from Paramus Catholic High School after administrators learned that she was married to a woman, according to her lawsuit. Kate Drumgoole, 33, was the school’s head basketball coach and dean of guidance when the school…Continue Reading

Scottish Catholic Church denies supporting ‘mandatory’ LGBT activist school program

GLASGOW, Scotland, August 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Church in Scotland is flatly denying that it is lending its support to advancing a pro-homosexual curriculum in Catholic schools, despite secular as well as gay news sources claiming the opposite.…Continue Reading

Amid falling sales, Target responds to backlash with $20 million plan for single-stall bathrooms

target

NewsGenderThu Aug 18, 2016 – 2:57 pm EST Amid falling sales, Target responds to backlash with $20 million plan for single-stall bathrooms  #flushtarget , bathroom bills , target , transgender , transgenderism MINNEAPOLIS, August 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Facing…Continue Reading

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Signs New Book Deal with Bloomsbury

Indeed, it’s official. Bloomsbury is announcing that Pope Benedict has a new book coming in November 2016, entitled, The Last Testament. It appears to be 224 pages. Ever since Bloomsbury merged (“bought out?”) T & T Clark, they have been…Continue Reading

Transgender Bathroom Access Extended to All Federal Buildings–Including Prisons

The Obama administration is set to unveil a new regulation this week that will expand transgender people’s access to restrooms consistent with their “gender identity” to thousands of federal buildings and facilities across the country — including prisons. Buzzfeed News…Continue Reading

Satanic ‘Black Mass’ held in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — A small group attended an event held by a satanic church in Oklahoma City Monday night. The ‘black mass’ was met with Christian masses and prayer rallies. Leaders of Oklahoma City’s Church of Ahriman set the…Continue Reading

Uplifting Story . . . Gymnast Simone Biles soars to Olympic gold while grounded in Catholic faith

olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, August 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — When three-time world champion gymnast Simone Biles flew to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, the 19-year-old carried a rosary her mother gave her and a St. Sebastian medal from…Continue Reading

Satanic Black Mass Still Scheduled at Public Venue Despite Protest

Amid growing protest Satanists plan to stage a second Black Mass at the public Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City on August 15, 2016. The public sacrilege against God and the Catholic Mass will include the desecration of a…Continue Reading

Margaret Sanger Award Recipient Nancy Pelosi on Zika: ‘This is About Babies’

nancyp

(CNSNews.com) – At a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Zika virus threat is “all about babies.” “The Zika in the Southern part of our country is in our country, and because…Continue Reading

Thousands of Colombians join nationwide protest of gender ideology in public schools

August 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Thousands marched yesterday in protests held throughout Colombia to protest a new initiative of the country’s homosexual Minister of Education to implement homosexualist and transsexualist gender ideology programs in Colombian schools. “No to gender ideology!…Continue Reading

98% Of CRS Employee Political Donations Go To Pro-Abortion Candidates

Contributions for political campaigns are recorded and monitored, and made available as public information in order to ensure transparency in the political process.  The information found in these recorded contributions are closely monitored and analyzed by political parties and research…Continue Reading

On DePaul Banning Ben Shapiro: Catholic Mission Should Drive Speaker Policy

From what I know about Ben Shapiro, he’s not a champion of immorality. So why was he banned from Catholic DePaul University, while other speakers, events and groups that might lead students away from the Catholic faith are welcomed on…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

New interview: Cardinal Burke says ‘I will never be part of a schism’

cburk12

August 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – In a new interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke has revealed that he and other “serious-minded” Church leaders are calling on Pope Francis to release a document correcting the confusion emanating from his recent apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. He also decried characterizations that he is an “enemy” of Pope Francis. The cardinal says clarification of Amoris Laetitia is essential “for the sake of souls” because of the rampant confusion…Continue Reading

Life Issue Is Not Front and Center with Pennsylvania Catholics . . . Catholic voters split, perplexed by presidential choices

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The conversation flowed freely at the school cafeteria tables as families sat Thursday over a dinner of chicken and ratatouille at Our Lady of Grace Church’s annual parish festival in Scott. But when a reporter brought up the presidential election, there was more head-shaking dismay than enthusiasm for any candidate. “I can’t see myself voting for Clinton,” said Bob Bauer. But as for Donald Trump, he’s still going “back…Continue Reading

Lifesite editorial . . .The first step needed to get the Church out of the current crisis

August 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – In his book Magisterial Authority, Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD, says “the Church will not climb out of this tumultuous period” without reversing the “practice since the Second Vatican Council onward not to police the doctrinal integrity” among bishops, priests and theologians. The crucial observation comes at the end of nearly fifty years of destructive leniency, which has in the Francis pontificate taken on new dimensions. While under the pontificates of…Continue Reading

Catholic politicians should embrace Church teaching or quit: Knights of Columbus leader

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The leader of the Knights of Columbus has said Catholic politicians should follow the Catholic Church’s teachings or resign from office. In an op-ed for The Hill, KofC Supreme Knight Carl Anderson begins by citing the common argument by pro-abortion politicians that they may wall off their public and private morality into separate, hermetically sealed compartments: This line of reasoning got its start from the late New York…Continue Reading

Kasperite Bishop Appointed Head of Pontifical Academy for Life

carda

Vatican expert Dr. Sandro Magister revealed yesterday – a day before the announcement was officially made – the troubling news that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia has been chosen by Pope Francis to be the new head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, as well as of the Pontifical  John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Paglia is already the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family. With this decision, Pope Francis makes another move in order…Continue Reading

ISIS And Other Useful Fictions

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh) and al-Qaeda are useful fictions. “Islamicist” is another ill-used word. Has anyone ever identified the borders of the so-called Islamic State, identified the site of its central government, attributed to it a president, prime minister, cabinet, parliament, or congress, or anything resembling such? Even the most…Continue Reading

The Real Existential Threats Of 2016

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN On September 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion. With spending on the four biggest budget items — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense — rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion. National bankruptcy,…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… A Frontal Challenge To The Left: Taking On The Homosexual Movement

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Truths And Trends

By DONALD DeMARCO Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, declares that “it is right also that philosophy should be called knowledge of the truth.” This statement contrasts sharply with Pontius Pilate’s famous assertion, “What is Truth?” If we cannot know truths, there is nothing to build on and philosophy is a vanity. Pilate, on the other hand,…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Fractured History Of The Hemlock Society”

By BRIAN CLOWES “A judicial determination should be made when it is necessary to hasten the death of an individual, whether it be a demented parent, a suffering, severely disabled spouse or a child” — former Hemlock Society Executive Director Faye Girsh. + + + The End and the Beginning. British journalist Derek Humphry had…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Moral Outrages Mount While Bishops Snooze

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The U.S. bishops’ conference is a leadership disaster. Joe Biden presiding over the marital simulation ceremony of two men who work in the Obama administration was the latest unanswered provocation to assail the American portion of the Body of Christ. Vice President Biden has completely sold-out on Church teaching. He enthusiastically promoted the rainbow revolution…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . The Historicity Of The Old And New Testaments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 14 Is the Book of Genesis historical or simply allegorical? Many have spent hours and days and years trying to prove one view or the other, as if God our Lord left to individuals the ability to decide about it. The truth is that some things are historical and some things are allegorical and some…Continue Reading

The Baptism Of Jesus

By DON FIER Much that regards Christianity and the Catholic faith we profess to believe is prefigured in the Old Covenant; signs and shadows which prepared the way for the New Testament abound throughout the pages of the Old. And as we saw last week, this is especially true for the Sacrament of Baptism: “[In] water, seen as source of…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. At the time when Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, was the original intent of the Fifth Commandment to be a proscription against murder? — P.C., California. A. We would say yes. Beginning with the murder of Abel by his brother Cain long before Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, God had told His Chosen People…Continue Reading

Gifts From God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29 Heb. 12:18-19, 22-24a Luke 14:1, 7-14 In the first reading today the Wise Man tells us that we should conduct our affairs with humility and we will be loved by other people. He goes on to say that the greater we are the more…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Euphrasia Eluvathingal

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1605 Fr. Robert De Nobili, a Jesuit priest, arrived in India to evangelize the people. He found them to have a noble bearing and a deeply spiritual life filled with fasting, prayer, and meditation. Difficulties presented themselves to him as he struggled to convert them: “If these people did not see me do such penance, they…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading