Berkeley, May 13, 2019 10:22 PM
Here I want to post some of the questions and comments that I have in my mind, at my current stage on my faith journey.
My opinions are not of a Theologist. I am Roman Catholic. I do believe in God.
I do beleive that we come to this world with a purpose.
Of course, we or I, make mistakes. A daily goal is to acknowledge them. To reflect. To renounce to oneself, and to connect with what are we called to do.
I beleive that the relationship with God, as any other evlove with time, understanding, and reflection.
We cannot not know God, if we do not accept Him at first.
I do beleive that thinks had a beginning. We, through science, have found the bing bang to understand the origin of the universe, and the evolution theory to understand our DNA, and our origens, and the origins of the species.
This is of course a fragile path to talk, where many would see these as probes of God non existence. At my point of understanding, I believe that we need to accept the grace of knowledge. Science is not the only gift or knwoledge we have.
Again I am posting more question that answers, as I myself have a long way to keep maturating my faith. But as I said in a relationship, you learn from the experience, virtues, grace, and knowledge.
I do beleive that science has helped us to understand better the world which was created with purpose.
Same as the own purpose, we should not contradict with our inner self, in the way that we go, or that the world might go.
Experience, daily experience, facts, courage among many are the reasons that I believe in God.
I do beleive that about 2K years ago, Jesus came to correct many of our actions as humans. I am a Catholic, because I believe that Jesus came. I believe that Peter was with Him. I see as fact that Peter founded the Church, and I even have visit his tomb, as the one from St. Paul as well.
The church has expanded for some reason, and it cannot just mere fortune that it has come that far.
Still, we need to stay informed, knowledgeble, educated, not only in science, but in philosophy, history, and far more to be able to speak our experience.
I remain Catholic while there are things that I do not understand. I do not see why celibate is required for the priests. I think that priests have a challenging and demanding job, but I beleive that woman is the complement of man, and viceversa. I also do not have enough knowledge yet, to understand why women is not in the priesthood.
The Catholic Church has been facing plenty of scandals those recent times, which are terrible: child sex abuse.
First, it does not reflect the doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is urgent to investigate deeply the roots of these several cases that happen. What had led to them? My solidarity with all the innocent people who got their lives affected with those problems.
Even with those evil leaks, I still beleive that the Catholic Church has been a major institution to teach us about God over last 2 thousand years. There have been several desviations, cirsis, abuses of power, in the history, but still great minds and spirits have made corrections.
I have been on my way to learn about God and life, and the truth, and simplicity, through the Catholic Church, that is why I stay, and I support it. I do not have a closed mind.
I do think that we need a major update on theology in the daily doctrine of the Catholic Church.
Many Saints have show us the way to faith by life example. Thankfully, we are diverse, and many of us have plenty of questions.
Our knowledge of course not only should cover the Bible, but starts to make relations between reason, theory, faith, phylosophy, experience. I am about to read the Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas. One of the greatest minds in the teological history.
Regarding, the Eucaristy. It is of course a time of transcende, love, forgiveness, reflection, connection and peace. I do beleive that during the liturgy a space for Q & A should be openned after the homily.
Again, teology is not field. I know that priests studies for about 10 years for becoming priests. Hwoever, questions evolve over time. The liturgy part is the teaching part. We as the community, need to be as weel good students. I think that the space for 2 or 3 questions should be open. It would elevate the speach of the priest, who is more advanced than us in the knowledge of God, but also will help Him to assess how is the community advancing. How clear is His speach. How come that a lesson does not have interaction. Then the second part of the mass is the Sacrament, where of course only the priest can performed.
Many questions and comments will comment in my life journey. At least as student, I usually ask questions. Normally, those have contributed to me to clarify a topic, and perhaps to the class as well. Rarely, perhaps only twice, the interloculor did not liked to receive questions. I have not been expulsed from class for asking. And if that is would be the case, still I will continue in my journey.
Dante (1275-1321), who was born the year after Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) died, I think expressed his opinion and curisioty about the Church doctrine. While I have on my list, and now in bookshelf plenty of books to finigh. The first volume of Dante’s Divine Comedy: infierno has a wornderful graph, which should encourage us a dig deeper in the understading of our faith. Or at least it touched me:
While I still have to finish the book, I am currently, in the canto III. My interpretation up to now, which I should correct when I finish the book, is that Dante, who is the pilgrims, has an awaking in his life. He stops to reflects about his misgivings, acknowledge them, and want to life with purpose. The pilgrim is in the vestibule where there is an entrance door to the upper hell, you can see in the top left gate of the graph. That is the door that either many people leave the church or did not wanted to enter, because did not wanted to explore further in their inner selfs. In all these unknown questions that we cannot answer now. Or just the ones who did not wanted to accept our own mistakes.
The pilgrim, Dante, decided to cross the river and take the hard path towards the City of God, which I think, its name came from the book by Saint Augustine (354 – 430). So he crossed the river, and it is allowed to first stay with the virtuous man and unbaptized. However, he had the courage to walk further to the limbo, then lustful, etc. up to the City of God. I will be able to talk further about those, as I can make time for reading it.
My final words, in this post with my current knowledge, is that we have to have the courage to believe and prepare to profess in our daily life. Even best if we are in the academic or science world. Those are also gifts from God. Wake up your joy. It is not an easy path. While preaching is not necessarily my message, which I also keep learning to defend the faith. Here is a message to not take the exit door. I also have struggled with my faith. I was born Catholic, but I was away from God from mid 2008 to mid 2009. About a month a half ago, while still my faith in God was part of the question, my continuity as Catholic also was part of it. In prayer, in confession, in writing, in reflection, the answers come. I do believe that He is the way, the true, and the life.
Even Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most prominent Theologist of all time, asked all his life all the question about God (Barron, 2019), and answered them in a very productive life, where left us several books for our further understanding. See Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica.
References and further reading/watching:
Aquinas, T., 1975 Summa contra gentiles. Vol1-4. Translations by Pegis, A.C., Anderson, J.F., Bourke, V.J. and O’Neil, C.J.
Aquinas, T. 2012. Summa Theologica. Vol 1-5. Authentic Media Inc, 2012.
Augustine, S., 1972. The City of God, trans. H. Bettenson.
Barron, Bishop. 2019. Saint Thomas Aquinas. CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players – Volume I. Word of Fire. https://www.wofdigital.org/videos/aquinas-4k
Dante, A., 2003. The divine comedy, vol I: inferno. Translated by Musa M. Penguin Books, US.