Thursday 5th March 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Implications Of Faith In One God

April 4, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

Over the past three weeks, we have reflected on but an infinitesimal fraction of all that the faithful affirm when they reverently and genuinely say the first four [or five] words contained in the Creeds of the Church: “I believe in [one] God.” In saying these words with heartfelt sincerity, one is acknowledging his belief in who God revealed Himself to be — I AM WHO AM — and all the unfathomable attributes that are part of the perfection of His being. One is admitting that God is Truth and God is Love, and that He is also Justice and Mercy and Beauty and every good that exists. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) now makes reference to what the impact should be if our prayer is authentic: “Believing in God, the only One, and loving Him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life” (CCC, n. 222).
As Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, was wont to say, “What an understatement!” If one truly believes in the one God and all that He has revealed of Himself to mankind, not only does it have enormous consequences for one’s whole life: “He Who Is” becomes the very focus of one’s every waking moment and affects one’s every decision. The Catechism, in nn. 223 to 227, goes on to list five consequences of genuine faith and love of God. As expressed in summary form by Fr. Hardon, they are: 1) we know His greatness and majesty; 2) we thank Him for giving us everything we have and are; 3) we know the unity and dignity of all people, made in the image and likeness of God; 4) we use creatures to bring us closer to God and remove creatures when they turn us away from God; and 5) we see and trust God in every circumstance of life, knowing there is no such thing as chance with God (see The Faith, p. 43).
Let us now take a closer look at each of these five consequences of having faith in one God. First, it “means coming to know God’s greatness and majesty” (CCC, n. 223). The Old Testament Book of Job tells us: “Behold, God is great, and we know Him not” (Job 36:26). Practically speaking, how true this is. To the finite and limited intellect of man, God’s greatness and majesty are incomprehensible. However, there is much we can come to know about Him during our earthly sojourn. What we can do is strive to the best of our ability, with the help of His grace, to grow in our knowledge and love of God on a daily basis. How do we accomplish this? The Catechism quotes St. Joan of Arc as saying, we “must serve God first” (CCC, n. 223).
What does it mean to serve God first? There is an incisive Latin phrase which is often applied to the spiritual life: qui non proficit, deficit — “he who does not advance, loses ground.” In other words, there is no standing still in the spiritual life: Either one is growing closer to God or falling away from Him. God’s grace will always be available to assist us in coming to know Him and love Him more completely should we choose to avail ourselves of it. True though it may be that it is not possible to fully know the greatness and majesty of God in this life, we can advance in our knowledge and love of Him on a daily basis while growing in merit. But it is only in Heaven that we will know God to our full capacity: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully” (1 Cor. 13:12).
Second, having faith in one God “means living in thanksgiving” (CCC, n. 224). As has been discussed previously in this series, God is the source of all that we have. We have absolutely nothing, not even our very existence, which is not the freely given, gratuitous gift of our Creator. As St. Paul implored the people of Corinth, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), the same could be asked of us. We should never cease in our prayer of thanksgiving for the many gifts that God has bestowed and continues to bestow upon us from moment to moment.
St. Paul tells us that “in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Our Heavenly Father loves us infinitely more than we love ourselves; He always knows and wills what is best for us, even if it sometimes seems just the opposite to us. Therefore, as the Apostle to the Gentiles instructs us elsewhere, we are to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18). And as the Catechism tells us, “Every joy and suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one’s whole life” (CCC, n. 2648).
Third, having faith in one God “means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men” (CCC, n. 225). For as God said in the Book of Genesis through the inspired writer: “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26). This verse wondrously expresses that each and every human person is created in the image and likeness of the Most Blessed Trinity — each is unique and of inestimable value in the eyes of Almighty God and is set above the rest of visible creation.
As taught in the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes (GS), the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, only man, of all visible creatures, “is capable of knowing and loving his Creator” (GS, n. 12 § 3). Furthermore, man “is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself” (GS, n. 24 § 3). St. Catherine of Siena, the 14th-century Dominican tertiary and doctor of the Church, expresses man’s great dignity in the eyes of God as follows: “What made You establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which You have looked on Your creature in Yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed You created her, by love You have given her a being capable of tasting Your eternal Good” (Dialogue 4, 13 “On Divine Providence”).
Fourth, having faith in one God “means making good use of created things” (CCC, n. 226). The Catechism goes on to say that we are to “use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to Him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from Him” (ibid.). How this flies in the face of the materialism and consumerism that pervade our secular society! Material things can bring only fleeting pleasure, a cheap counterfeit of the true joy to which we are called. True happiness is accessible to all mankind if we but love God, follow His Commandments, and use all created things as He intends.
Let our prayer be that of St. Nicholas of Flüe as cited in the Catechism: “My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from You. My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to You. My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to You” (CCC, n. 226).
Fifth, having faith in one God “means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity” (CCC, n. 227). Our objective should be to practice complete abandonment to divine Providence, for nothing happens that is not permitted by God. Even evil, although never willed by God but allowed out of respect for our free will, can result in a greater good in His loving Providence.
I am reminded of something Fr. Hardon was often known to say, that the words coincidence and chance should not even be in our vocabulary — all that happens in part of God’s Providence.
I close this installment with a meditation by the great Carmelite mystic and Doctor of the Church St. Teresa of Avila. It is a prayer that appears often on Catholic bookmarks and is well worth reflecting on in good times and in bad: “Let nothing trouble you/ Let nothing frighten you/ Everything passes/ God never changes/ Patience obtains all/ Whoever has God wants for nothing/ God alone is enough” (The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, vol. III, tr. by Kavanaugh and Rodriguez, p, 386).

+    +    +

(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

Comment on this Article:

‘Quit Catholic schools if you can’t stand our principles’

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu has dared students who cannot comply with the religious rules and practices in Catholic schools to quit and move to other schools, if they so desire. According to him,…Continue Reading

Robert McElroy Named New Leader of Roman Catholic Church

The new leader of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese in San Diego has been named. Robert W. McElroy, 61, an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, has been named the new bishop for San Diego, which has about one million Catholics…Continue Reading

Catholic Schools Should Be Catholic, Even in San Francisco

Archbishop Cordileone is predictably blasted for a commonsense policy. If you care to learn how thin our conception of religious liberty has become, look to the Bay Area. In early February, San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone released a statement “regarding…Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: CARDINAL BURKE INTERVIEW WITH RORATE CAELI

burk10

Last week, Rorate Caeli interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke via telephone on numerous topics. Nothing was off the table for this interview and His Eminence was incredibly generous with his time. He showed himself to be brilliant and yet filled with…Continue Reading

Hit job on Card. Pell because he’s doing his job

His Eminence George Card Pell was appointed by Pope Francis to oversee cleaning up the finances of the Holy See. He is doing his job. And so as Pell drills into the financial corruption and is getting closer to the…Continue Reading

Oil company hit man has Archbishop Cordileone in his sights

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 27, 2015 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Sam Singer’s public relations firm spun a Chevron oil refinery disaster in California and fought back a legal ruling in Ecuador that could have awarded billions of dollars to…Continue Reading

What about Henry VIII?

Interestingly, Jesus’ hard teaching that “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:6) follows not long after his insistence to Peter on the necessity of forgiveness (see Mt 18:21–35). It is true that Jesus did…Continue Reading

Sacrificing Priests on the Altar of Insurance

Fr. Bob (that’s what we’ll call him) was a faithful parish priest for more than 25 years. One day, a process server showed up at the rectory door and handed him a summons and complaint. The complaint alleged that some…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Save Students from Pornography Epidemic, Says Counseling Expert

Catholic colleges and universities owe it to their students to do everything within their power to help combat the destructive effects of pornography, argued Dr. Peter Kleponis in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Kleponis, a licensed clinical…Continue Reading

Imagine: A Catholic Archbishop!

If it weren’t so predictable, it would be infuriating, but because of that, it is infuriating to thinking people. It’s happening again as San Francisco drops the hammer – again – on the Catholic Church and especially Archbishop Cordileone. He’s…Continue Reading

As storm brews, San Fran archbishop strikes back at school guideline critics

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 20, 2015 / 03:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Politicians have targeted San Francisco Catholic schools’ teacher standards, but Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone says they are a matter of Catholic mission and common sense. “Would you hire a campaign…Continue Reading

University of Scranton to end all abortion coverage

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – The University of Scranton plans to end employee health care coverage for abortions in cases of rape, incest and to preserve the life of the mother. The Times-Tribune of Scranton (http://bit.ly/1JstU9i ) reports Thursday that the…Continue Reading

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 subscribe 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Worldliness Blinds Us To The Needs Of The Poor

(Vatican Radio) Worldliness darkens the soul, making it unable to see the poor who live next to us with all their wounds: this was the message, in brief, that Pope Francis had for the faithful gathered for Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican on Thursday morning. Commenting on the parable of the rich man, a man dressed “in purple and fine linen,” who “every day gave lavish banquets,” the…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: An Invitation To Do Good

pope731

(Vatican Radio)  God “generously forgives” those who “learn to do good”, but what he doesn’t forgive is “hypocrisy and fake saints”, said Pope Francis at Mass Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta chapel. Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers “sanctified sinners” – people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good — to “fake saints” – people who are more concerned with appearing saintly…Continue Reading

Pope: Jesus reveals himself, as the perfect icon of the Father

(Vatican Radio) Before the Angelus the Pope recalled Sunday’s Gospel on the Transfiguration in which Jesus “is at the peak of his public ministry. The Holy Father explained that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where the prophecies of the ‘Servant of God’ will be fulfilled. The crowds, he added, facing the prospect of a Messiah that does not fit their earthly expectations, abandoned him. They thought that the Messiah would be a liberator…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Judge Not

pope730

(Vatican Radio) It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that “we are all sinners” – not “in theory” but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is “a Christian…Continue Reading

Best Of Times Or Worst Of Times?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Last week, John Kerry seemed to be auditioning for the role of Dr. Pangloss. Despite jihadi violence across the Middle East and ISIS terror in Iraq and Syria, Kerry told Congress, we live in “a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally —…Continue Reading

The Good Pagan’s Failure

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY As Europe faces what seems to be a cultural crisis, a book written in 1939 comes to mind for its present relevance. It is Rosalind Murray’s The Good Pagan’s Failure. (1) Murray was the daughter of the Australian-born, British classical scholar Gilbert Murray, and the wife for 30 years of Arnold…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… “Birth Control For Teens Who Are ‘Doing It Anyway’?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + If pressed, many “family planners” admit that, in an ideal world, all young people would…Continue Reading

Virginia Parish Calls On Catholics . . . Join In An “Affirmation Of Faith” To Pope Francis

By LISA BOURNE FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — A Virginia Catholic parish is publicly affirming Church teaching on marriage and its fidelity to the Church, while at the same time calling on Pope Francis to proclaim and defend the same. In the wake of the October Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome, St. John…Continue Reading

Egalitarian Chess

By DONALD DeMARCO A high school principal, let us imagine, who is thoroughly devoted to political correctness, summoned the school’s chess coach into his office. In that venue the following conversation took place. P: I think it is time to bring the game of chess into the 21st century. C: But chess is a timeless…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Practice Mercy And Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Lent (YR B) Readings: 2 Chron. 36:14-16, 19-23 Eph. 2:4-10 John 3:14-21 In the second reading today St. Paul reminds us that God is rich in mercy. For this we are all most grateful because without that mercy we would all be headed to a very hot eternity. Sometimes, however, we get impatient…Continue Reading

It Looks Like Someone Is Trying To Shout Us Down

By JOSEPH CARDINAL ZEN ZE-KIUN (Editor’s Note: The widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless, according to Cardinal Zen, the archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong. He says that the key issues remain unresolved, namely, episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Root Of Faith Crisis In Rupture Between Life And Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Quite a few years ago, I went hiking in the Alps on the border between Italy and France with a group of reformed drug addicts and their family members. One father brought his two sons who observed my delight as I ran up to the snow line ahead of the group and collected fresh snow…Continue Reading

Are Statues Idols? The Meaning Of “False Idols”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 “I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath…Continue Reading

Catechesis In The Twenty-First Century

By Don Fier “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” With these words in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei announcing the upcoming Year of Faith…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Seville

By CAROLE BRESLIN Spain is one of two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was the Romans who first called this land “Hispania.” To this land the Romans brought the Latin language, civil organization, and law, as well as the Christian religion. However, as the Roman Empire began to crumble during the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustus Chapdelaine

By CAROLE BRESLIN Christianity has never been warmly welcomed by the authorities in China, but that did not stop the missionaries over the centuries who have gone there to save souls. Christianity has existed in various forms since the Tang Dynasty (eighth century). The first reports of Catholic priests going to China go back to the 13th century. John of…Continue Reading