(NOTE: This transcription has been automatically generated through an AI program. Consequently, this transcript may not match everything you hear in the podcast episode, and it may contain errors such as spelling, grammar, word choice, etc., due to the limitations of current AI technology.)
Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of Midnight. Carmelite. I’m your host Andrew Gniadek. This week I wanted to discuss as kind of a continuation from last week.
We talked about last week this notion of wonder in relation to fear. In this week, I wanted to talk about inquiry and how far inquiry can go and how does faith in reason relate to that inquiry. Obviously, this is not going to be a full treatment of the subject. Some listeners may be familiar with Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio. I will touch on issues that are dealt in that encyclical as well as in other philosophical works that discuss this relationship between faith and reason.
But I kind of wanted to go through and just offer some reflections that may be helpful for everybody. So let’s begin.
When we wonder about something, we experience this fear, a species of fear, really, we’re trying to figure out what it is, how it operates, and how it relates to other things.
And, what will end up happening is as you dig, you’ll end up saying to yourself, okay, well how do I rank things, meaning, you know, what things have more being and what things have less being and what I mean by being here is perfection or what I mean is power to operate.
You know, if you look for example, take a squirrel, right? Squirrel has it’s operation; what it is, how it functions, right? A squirrel tends to be a squirrel. Okay. Now human persons operate in many different ways, in fact, you could say that it depends on what perfection you’re looking for in some sense because for example you could say well a human person who you know is a carpenter like Saint Joseph or really he was an artist and so stone worker artisan.
You know you that type of person you could say well, they’re operating with certain talents and perfections that are great and they’re good, right? And they say, okay, well how does that compare to someone who let’s say is a king? Or a president. Well in one sense, you could argue that the king or the president is more noble than the carpenter and today that we’re just kind of lost its meaning what nobility means specifically is influence meaning the operation of that.
Person through that perfection meaning through that power that they possess is more influential meaning it governs more things. So for example, if, obviously if a President issues an executive order, for example, that is more influential than building a house in remote rural area, right?
That’s not because there’s anything undignified about the house because you know, humanly speaking; nobility deals with influence. So, that influence in that would be the house would be on the local community obviously but you know people let’s say 500 miles away have no idea that the house was built so the influence is less hence less nobility.
So the issue becomes when you’re dealing with this as you say well, how do you relate to my faith right this idea of nobility this idea of higher and lower being and I would say it relates in a couple ways. First is that if you think of God and the Trinitarian life you have the Father who’s eternal expression, the one thing he spoke as stated by St. John of the Cross, that is the Word and the Word has all things that the Father has and between the two in their mutual love you have the Holy Spirit.
So you have the Son proceeds from the Father and both from the Father and the Son proceeds the Holy Spirit.
Now what happens here is, this purus actus, God is infinite, right? He’s not limited by anything. So his nobility is nobility itself. He is influence meaning if God stopped maintaining our existence, I’ll stop existing, that alone ranks him as the most noble.
But let’s say you know, we’re talking about His efficient causality. Only God creates, you know, we work with what God has created but we’ve never created something ex nihilo and never will; only he can do that.
When you start reflecting on it and you start using the light of faith to reflect on being you start to see God’s influence. You start to say, okay, this is where I see God working in my life.
You build a life of prayer, you converse with God on a daily basis and then that nobility, that influence, that those blessings really which is you know, now we’re speaking in faith terms. Those blessings which is an exercise of God’s nobility, his influence.
That shows you how much he loves you.
Now faith is informing the way you view the world and I think that’s a powerful thing, you know, most people construe faith and reason as separate that you know reason operates here and faith operates here, but that’s not how this works. The whole human person acts and the highest power is the governing principle of the entire being and if we receive in baptism faith by choice right you choose God, you know, that God dwells in you and that you believe he is who he says he is and you go from there. Then what happens is that you’re now exercising your activity under the governance of supernatural virtue; a virtue, meaning a power, you didn’t have naturally nor could you have at all unless God gave it to you. I think that’s where it gets a little weird when you get into this inquiry on being because if you have somebody who says well look I don’t acknowledge God, especially God as you understand it then.
You as someone who has faith, you can’t use faith as a proof because they don’t operate in that order, so what you’re left with is reason, but the problem is that when we understand something, we gain that understanding. But we also understand things through our faith. So how does that work together?
How it works together is this. The question isn’t about what God’s understanding or God’s whatever the question is, really about, whether or not God loves you. Because you can sit here all day and say, oh well, you know. I understand what you mean by God, I get that God’s existence God’s that but the real question in my mind is: is there a God who loves you?
And if he loves you, how does he behave, meaning what is his nobility, what’s his influence on you? Right and I think that’s an important thing for us to remember and to think about. So how do these two things come together: faith and reason? Well, in this case the governing principle of a Christian is God’s love because Saint John says in his letter God is love.
So there’s no way around this. Either you have to start with the fact that God is love, not that God’s existence, not that God is powerful, it’s God is love. You start there and you say, okay. I can explain in reason and through my reason why I believe through faith.
God is who He says He is and He says, He’s Love. So therefore, I love God back and that’s the beginning of your prayer life, right?
There’s enough evidence. Based on this claim and enough warrants for this claim. That I believe that God is who he says he is as told in Scripture as well as in tradition. And God took on human flesh and took on a human nature. And God took on a human nature through Jesus Christ under the person of the Word.
And that humanity was united to God so that we can all be united to God through Christ. And that is something we all need to keep in mind and remember. You know, St. Teresa of Jesus said you can’t go wrong if you focus on the humanity of Christ and obviously she’s referring to Christ as the gate the door to all things.
So my point is is that when you’re inquiring into reality and into being and you’re trying to balance your reason and your faith. Just remember that your faith is the real light, but it can’t contradict your reason. And your reason is what allows you to go out to reality, relate to it, and see through faith what you may not have been able to see before and what I mean by that is things that were revealed to you that couldn’t have been ascertained by reason now enlightened what you do see so that from what you do see you see more because of what you’ve been what’s been revealed by God himself about himself as well as his relationship to us.