Perhaps now more than ever, the crucial importance of truth is self-evident. Many in our nation and the world are seeking the spiritual in order to fill up what is missing in their lives. This is, of course, a good endeavor, provided the search for God is carefully informed by reason and the belief and teaching of the Church divinely founded by Christ. While God calls man to himself, inviting him to a relation of fellowship and love with the Holy Trinity though his Son, many are confused by the whisper from the divine Other that echoes within the depths of the human heart. Consequently, the pursuit of religion, which has to do with man’s relation to God and is therefore a crucial force in forming man’s beliefs not only about God but about himself and how he is to live, is all too often undertaken haphazardly or not at all.
This tragic situation has led to a number of serious errors, such as religious indifferentism, widespread relativism and a disregard for the natural moral law, and a growing contempt for organized religion manifested, at least in part, by the outgrowth of the “I’m spiritual but not religious” phenomenon. As an additional symptom, there has been a significant rise in various forms of atheism, including practical atheism. As Vatican II pointed out, the actions and beliefs of Christians, including Catholics of course, has a lot to do with this increase.
This trouble is not isolated to areas outside of Christendom. Americans and others in the West who self-identify as Christian are often in serious disagreement on many elements of the Christian religion: the meaning of the Bible, public worship, authority, doctrine, the nature of the Church and even what the word “church” itself means. An entire book could be filled with the disputes and disagreements between the tens-of-thousands of Protestant denominations in America alone.
Pope St. Clement I long ago wrote in c. A.D. 96: “Everywhere men are renouncing the fear of God; the eye of faith has grown dim, and instead of following the commandments, and living as becomes a citizen of Christ, each one walks after the desires of his own wicked heart” (The First Epistle of Clement). I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” Yes, much of this is certainly not new. But it seems it has taken on a new magnitude and a new form.
There is great need in the world for a return to love for the truth, for God has created the human intellect for nothing other than to love and pursue truth in all its incomparable, everlasting beauty. The claim of the Catholic Church is that she possesses, infallibly guards and transmits the fullness of God’s revelation found in Jesus Christ. The revelatory word of God resounds in the living body of the Church, transforming hearts and minds, guiding thoughts and desires toward those heavenly realities to which man finds himself irrepressibly drawn. The fullness of the Christian religion, what man needs to know in order to properly live and die, subsists in the Catholic Church. Therefore the Church is both the plan and the solution for the ailments of today’s world.
The Father calls all people into the Church, formed from the blood and water that flowed from the side of his crucified Son. Within the arms of the Church, men hear the words of truth and receive the sacraments of life. The Church is, therefore, God’s plan for humanity, now and on into the future. It is within her womb, the city of truth and a sublime, holy dwelling place, that man learns what he needs to know in order to live a fully human existence in true and authentic freedom.
The Catholic Faith, then, which is the Gospel life in Christ, is the definitive solution to the desires of man’s heart. Within the sacramental life in the womb of the Church as a disciple of Jesus Christ, as we become one body with him, is found and attained human happiness as a member of the divine family, eventually culminating in the perfect happiness of supernaturally infused bliss in the face-to-face vision of God. It is in living the Catholic life that we actualize the words of Christ who said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
That is why I started this blog in 2002. For the love of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, let us spread the Catholic Faith.
May the peace and light of the most Holy Trinity descend upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.
Deacon Frederick Bartels