Day 4: Our Capacity for God (26-35)
We are done with our “syllabus days”!!
This very beginning is about Human Beings’ capacity for God
You’ve probably figured this out already, but “man” simply means HUMANITY
It does NOT refer to male or female!!
Does that make sense?
THE HUMAN HEART
MAN CREATED BY GOD FOR GOD
GOD NEVER CEASES TO DRAW MAN TO HIMSELF
What that means is YOU regardless of whether you are a male or a female
We are going to hear about the DESIRE FOR GOD THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE HUMAN HEART
All the ways we are RELIGIOUS BEINGS at the VERY HEART of who we are
We are NEVER HAPPY
We are NEVER FULFILLED
WE ENCOUNTER GOD!!
Because we are made BY God
Because we are made FOR God
We only find our identity IN GOD
God reveals Himself to us
Paragraphs 31-35 talk about ways in which we can come to KNOW GOD
Some of the ways are THROUGH THE WORLD
We can discover that God is real and God exists just by looking at the world
The other way that The Catechism highlights is through the HUMAN PERSON
OUR OWN HEART
OUR OWN EXPERIENCE
OUR OWN MINDS
Reveal that God exists!!
We have both the DESIRE for God as well as ways of coming to KNOW God
Let’s say a prayer!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, Oh My Gosh!! You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. Inflame that desire that we have to know you. Inflame the desire that we have to be found by you. And inflame that desire that we have to find you. You reveal your heart to us. Help us to reveal our hearts to you. Help us not be numb to the reality that you are. And help us not to be numb to the reality that you are love. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen”
So here we are!!
Part One: What We Believe (The Profession of Faith)
Section One: Divine Revelation
Chapter One on THE SEARCH
Paragraph 26 is technically BEFORE Chapter 1
Consider it a TEASER
We are going to look at these THREE CHAPTERS
Chapter 1: Consider The Search For God
Chapter 2: God Comes to Meet Us
Chapter 3: Our Response to God (Faith)
The Word of the Day is FAITH
We are going to get to the TECHNICAL DEFINITION around Day 17 or 18
The Church simply and very clearly defines FAITH as OUR RESPONSE TO GOD
Later on, it will be a personal adherence to God
The beginning here is our RESPONSE TO GOD
IT IS REMARKABLE!!
Not only is God OUR SOURCE
Not only is God OUR FINAL END
God also is the ground of ALL BEING that holds us into existence
The Catechism says it is HIS LOVE THAT HOLDS US INTO EXISTENCE!!
This is basically quoting Vatican II
“For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence.”
We will hear this for the next year
GOD LOVES YOU!!
Maybe this is something you’ve heard your ENTIRE LIFE
Maybe you’ve NEVER heard it before
You have likely heard that GOD LOVES YOU
Most people who hear this don’t truly believe it
They believe that God merely TOLERATES them
Or they’ll try and justify it or diminish it
God loves every person He has ever created
You have to think about this
You and I DID NOT HAVE TO EXIST
BUT WE DO EXIST!!
The reason you exist is because GOD WANTS YOU TO EXIST
So yes, God loves everybody
God loves everybody INFINITELY UNIQUELY!!
God loves everybody INFINITELY ON PURPOSE!!
IT IS REMARKABLE!!
You and I DID NOT HAVE TO EXIST
YET WE DO!!!
BECAUSE GOD LOVED US INTO EXISTENCE!!
Be able to RECEIVE THAT!!
Every single human being, whether they believe in God or not, has a LONGING INSIDE OF THEIR HEART
Paragraph 29 says, “Intimate and vital bond of man to God can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man.”
Isn’t that COMPLETELY TRUE??
Everyone of us has been made BY God’s LOVE
Everyone of us has been made FOR God’s LOVE
That can be FORGOTTEN!
That can be OVERLOOKED!
That can be EXPLICITLY REJECTED!
We can be INDIFFERENT TO IT!!
That attitude of rejecting, forgetting, or overlooking God’s love can have a lot of different causes
One is that there is EVIL IN THE WORLD
We rebel against that evil by REBELLING AGAINST GOD
Religious ignorance or indifference
If there is anything that marks our day and age, it is RELIGIOUS INDIFFERENCE
Indifference to the bigger questions
Indifference to GOD HIMSELF
The cares and riches of this world
The scandal of bad example on the part of believers
Currents of thought hostile to religion
And lastly, OUR HUMAN HEARTS that want to RUN AWAY FROM GOD and want to FLEE FROM HIS CALL
This is true for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US
In the midst of this, God NEVER CEASES TO CALL US TO SEEK HIM!!
The Catechism specifies that the search for God demands of man EVERY EFFORT OF INTELLECT
So we HAVE TO THINK
A SOUND WILL
We CANNOT be fickle
We CANNOT be of TWO MINDS
We MUST have an UPRIGHT HEART
Because we have to be people of CHARACTER
It’s one thing to HEAR the truth
It’s one thing to KNOW the truth
It is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THING to WALK IN THE TRUTH or to ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH to the depths that we must
The fourth thing that is needed is THE WITNESS OF OTHERS who teach him to seek God
SO SO IMPORTANT!!
The Catechism then specifies WAYS OF COMING TO KNOW GOD
The Human Person
We can look at the world around us and we can conclude that GOD EXISTS
Arguments from MOVEMENT
Arguments from BECOMING
Arguments from CONTINGENCY
Arguments from ORDER
Arguments from BEAUTY
The arguments behind all those are SO DEEP
So what does CONTINGENCY mean?
Think of it in these terms
If you look around you right now and are riding in your car, your car does not need to exist
It is contingent
It is not necessary
If you think about the road you are driving on, that road does not need to exist
It is not necessary, it is contingent
Its existence is based off of something else
If you look at the world around us, the ENTIRE PLANET is contingent
The ENTIRE PLANET is NOT NECESSARY
NONE OF US are necessary
We do not HAVE TO EXIST
So…ALL OF CREATION IS CONTINGENT!!
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO EXIST
IT IS NOT NECESSARY
IT DOES EXIST!!
And since it DOES exist, there MUST be a prior NECESSARY BEING that brought all other CONTINGENT BEINGS into EXISTENCE!!
Does that make sense?
That is a thumbnail sketch of the argument from contingency about God’s existence
It is fascinating that The Catechism quotes St. Paul and St. Augustine and points at BEAUTY
We look at beauty in this world because that beauty points to the beauty of the ARTIST
THE CREATOR OF THIS WORLD
Lastly, THE HUMAN PERSON
We have an openness to TRUTH AND BEAUTY
We have a sense of MORAL GOODNESS
We have FREEDOM and a CONSCIENCE
We LONG FOR LIFE
We LONG FOR HAPPINESS
There is something in us that questions….THERE MUST BE MORE!!
We have an appetite for MORE
C.S. Lewis said, “You have hunger. Well, there is such a thing as food. You have thirst. Well, there is such a thing as drink. You are sleepy. There is such a thing as sleep. We crave God. There is such a thing as God.”
THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!
Even that hunger in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US reveals to us that GOD EXISTS!!
That’s why St. Thomas Aquinas says, “In different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality that everyone calls GOD.”
Paragraph 35 highlights this, “Man’s faculties (our intellect and will) make us capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for us to actually have an intimate relationship with him, God has to reveal Himself. Not only that, God has to give us the GRACE to know who He is and to respond to Him with ALL OF OUR HEART.”
So that is one of the things that we are praying for
Not just to KNOW ABOUT GOD
Also for that GRACE THAT GOD GIVES US TO KNOW HIM
Not just to BELIEVE IN GOD
BUT TO BELIEVE GOD!!
For that, we need HIS GRACE
For EVERYTHING we need GOD’S GRACE!!
Fr. Mike is praying for YOU!!
Pray for Fr. Mike
I can’t WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"
CCC 26 We must first ask what "to believe" means. Faith is man's response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life."
1 Samuel 3:10
"And the Lord came and stood forth, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for thy servant hears.”
“the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
1 John 5:1–5
"Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD
I. THE DESIRE FOR GOD
CCC 27 "The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
Genesis 1:27–28, 31
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them…And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good."
"O God, thou art my God, I seek thee,
my soul thirsts for thee;
my flesh faints for thee,
as in a dry and weary land where no water is.
So I have looked upon thee in the sanctuary,
beholding thy power and glory.
Because thy steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise thee."
"The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God…"
1 John 1:5–7
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."
"This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being…"
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
"For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator."
1 John 4:7–12
"Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."
CCC 28 "Throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being"
"So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-opagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.
And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for
‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your poets have said"
CCC 29 “But this "intimate and vital bond of man to God" can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man…”
"Behold, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices."
“Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world…”
“As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
“the scandal of bad example on the part of believers…”
1 John 1:6
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth”
“currents of thought hostile to religion…”
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
“finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.”
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
CCC 30 "Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, "an upright heart", as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.”
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine."
"Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength,
Seek his presence continually!”
II. WAYS OF COMING TO KNOW GOD
CCC 31 “Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments", which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.”
CCC 32 “The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe…”
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.”
“St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: "See, we are beautiful." Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?”
For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature;
and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists,
nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;
but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air,
or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water,
or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.
If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods,
let them know how much better than these is their Lord,
for the author of beauty created them.
And if men were amazed at their power and working,
let them perceive from them
how much more powerful is he who formed them.
For from the greatness and beauty of created things
comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.
Yet these men are little to be blamed,
for perhaps they go astray
while seeking God and desiring to find him.
For as they live among his works they keep searching,
and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful.
Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
for if they had the power to know so much
that they could investigate the world,
how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?"
CCC 33 “The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence…”
2 Maccabees 1:3–6
“May he give you all a heart to worship him and to do his will with a strong heart and a willing spirit. May he open your heart to his law and his commandments, and may he bring peace. May he hear your prayers and be reconciled to you, and may he not forsake you in time of evil. We are now praying for you here.”
“In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the "seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material", can have its origin only in God.”
“then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”