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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Last Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
23rd November 2014

Bishop Fulton Sheen on The Relation Between Our Actions and Belief

The way we live has an influence on the way we think. This is not a denial of the intellectual factors in belief, but merely an attempt to emphasize a neglected element. Some people imagine that they can bring a person to Divine Love merely by answering a doubt he has expressed. They assume that men are irreligious only because they are ignorant; that if atheists read a few good books or listened to a few choice arguments in favour of Divinity, they would immediately embrace the Faith. Religion seems to them to be a thing to be known, rather than a Personality to be embraced and lived and loved. But our Divine Lord, Who is Truth itself, could not convince the Pharisees and certain sinners; they were intellectually confounded by His knowledge so that, after one encounter, no man dared question Him again - but still they did not believe. Christ told those who watched the resurrection of Lazarus that some of them would not believe, though one rose daily from the dead. Intellectual knowledge is not the "one thing necessary": not all the Ph.D.'s are Saints, and the ignorant are not demons. Indeed, a certain type of education may simply turn a man from a stupid egotist into a clever egotist, and of the two the former has the better chance of salvation.

Many men today are ignorant, full of prejudice and misinformation about the Faith, and it is regrettable that they have had no opportunity for instruction, for acquiring knowledge of the Truth. But though God can be discovered by study, instruction, and reading, these alone will not bring one to God. There must also be a willingness to accept the Truth personally, that is, in all its implications. It is easy to find Truth; it is hard to face it, and harder still to follow it.

The discovery of the size of a distant star creates no moral obligation; but the old truths about the nature and destiny of man can be a reproach to the way one lives. Some psychologists and sociologists like to rp their knuckles at the door of truth about mankind, but they would run away if the door ever opened, showing mans conlingency on God. The only people who ever arrive at a knowledge of God are those who, when the door is opened, accept that Truth and shoulder the responsibilities it brings.

It requires more courage than brains to learn to know God: God is the most obvious fact of human experience, but accepting Him is one of the most arduous. The moral conditions for knowing Divine Truth are, next to Grace, the most important requisites for conversion. There are, indeed, some who do not come to the Truth because they do not know it; but there are many more who do not come because of their present behaviour. It is not the way they think, but the way they live which constitutes the obstacle to union with the Spirit. It is not the Creed that keeps most people away from Christ and His Mystical Body; it is the Commandments.