A world without faith lacks humility
There is an old saying that states “seeing is believing.”
This was certainly the attitude of St. Thomas immediately after the resurrection of Jesus: “But Thomas (who was called the twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord’. But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in this side, I will not believe.’” (John 20:24-25)
Jesus appeared again; however, this time Thomas was present. During this encounter Thomas was able to see the Lord so he believed. Jesus said to him: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29)
Jesus offers these words on behalf of future generations who, unlike Thomas, are able to believe even though they have not seen. ‘Doubting Thomas’ reminds us that sometimes not seeing is also believing. This is the essence of faith.
St. Paul defines faith in one simple statement: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)
This definition helps us to understand that when Jesus encountered Thomas he wanted to teach him about the meaning of faith. He wanted him to have confidence in what cannot be seen or explained.
We live in a world where a growing number of people believe that if something cannot be measured, quantified or explained, then it does not exist. Science and technology become the only reliable means of achieving knowledge. Reality is not always perceptible and there is the transcendent. Faith speaks to this as it touches the soul and strengthens the human spirit. Faith and reason, therefore, should not be at odds.
Pope St. John Paul II, in his encyclical letter entitled, Faith and Reason, begins with these words: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself, so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”
Pope St. John Paul II reminds us that faith and reason have a similar end – the pursuit of truth about ourselves and the world. Like a bird, we soar to greater heights of discovery.
Just as two wings are needed to fly, so too does the world need both faith and reason. They offer two complementary perspectives as they seek understanding. God has given us an intellect so that we can unlock the mysteries of life. This is achieved through the sciences and theology. These disciplines should work together in discovering the truth in both the spiritual and temporal order. A person should not have to reject faith in order to embrace science nor reject science in order to be a person of faith. Faith and reason need not clash because it is rational to believe.
There are many mysteries of life that are to be lived rather than solved. Faith helps us to accept those mysteries even though we do not fully understand. It is an act of humility to admit that I am not God and that the world does not revolve around me. Faith co-operates with science and helps to promote the universal good by helping to make distinctions and avoid things that could be harmful to humanity. Faith reminds us that seeing is not always believing.
Source: St. Catharines Standard, Friday, August 4, 2017 http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2017/08/04/bergie-a-world-without-faith-lacks-humility