ONE, TRUE, SAVING FAITH
What is Truth? It would seem unnecessary to explain what truth is, however, nowadays there is talk about subjective truth, versus absolute truth. Truth is, by nature, an absolute. Truth being personal or subjective, is a contradiction in terms. Either the world is round or it is flat. One is truth and the other is falsehood. It may be an innocent error or it may be a lie, depending on the person who says it, but it cannot ever be truth. When they first realized that the earth was round, many people didn’t believe it. It was flat. You could tell by looking. But just because a person felt sure it was flat, that didn’t mean he would fall off the edge if he kept going West!
There can only be one true religion. If you think about the word “truth,” you will see, there can be only one “true” anything. There cannot be two opposing “truths”.
Knowledge and Revelation
The salvation of one’s soul rests on one thing: loving God above all things, as He deserves. But in order to love God, you need to know God, because you cannot love one you do not know. We can know God to a certain extent from thinking about created things, but this is always incomplete and mixed with error. We need more. That is why God has revealed more.
God revealed certain truths to man throughout the time before Christ, this was kept by the Jewish people. Divine revelation culminated with the teaching of Jesus Christ.
The Divine Revelation is contained in the Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition. These two are the same source, the only difference is the mode of transmission.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” – 2 Thess. 2:15
Faith is the assent of the mind to divine Revelation; Faith is the firm acceptance of the Divine truths of Revelation, on the authority of God Revealing. Faith is the beginning of human salvation, the basis and the root of all justice. “Faith is of those things which are not seen, that is to say, of those things that reason cannot comprehend, but are known only through the revelation of God. But it is precisely the merit of faith that it commands reason to believe those things which reason itself cannot attain…..The authority of God is a sufficient basis for our faith and we need not seek elsewhere for other reasons for believing.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
Sometimes people think this or that article of Faith is “hard to believe”, doesn’t seem right etc. When they say this, they are suggesting that their idea is better than God’s, or that their intellect is equal or greater than God’s.
“O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him? For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen.” – Romans 11:33-36
ONE, TRUE RELIGION
Jesus Christ entrusted His teaching to His Apostles, charging them to “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” – St. Mark 16: 15-16
Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church to continue His work of redemption. The Divine Revelation is most carefully guarded, in all its integrity by the Church. Catholic teaching never changes, because truth cannot change. All other churches were founded by men who decided they did not like one or more of these truths of the Faith, so they left and made their own churches. Unfortunately, what is now in the “Catholic” churches, is no longer Catholic, either. What was lost, in both cases, was the truth.
The Holy Ghost protects the Church from error. Therefore the Church is infallible in its final decisions concerning Faith and morals. Otherwise, everything would shift and changes according to the whims and forgetfulness of men. Catholic doctrine never changes. It develops, but it never changes or contradicts itself.
Non-Catholic Christians all claim to be individually led by the Holy Ghost, and they have splintered into 3,000 or so different churches, not to mention all of the Evangelical types, with each individually believing something different. This is cannot being led by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth.
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. “ 1 St.Timothy 3:15
This Faith shows us that God loves all, and will have mercy on all who truly repent, no matter what they have done. It also teaches that God will give the grace for any person to keep His Commandments, and live a holy life no matter where they come from, or how much other have despaired of them. Faith is this has led me to reach out and try to bring the most unlikely people to God: prisoners, mostly murderers. If it were not for divine Faith, nothing on earth could have given me hope for such desolate characters. The explanation of my hope for and interest in them, (which they sometimes find inexplicable) is because I see them through the lens of the Catholic Faith. And my Faith has been richly rewarded. Seeing lost souls find the light, come to life, and be transformed into docile children of God, has been the most beautiful and inspiring thing I have ever experienced in my life.
Faith, doctrine and the Church have one sole purpose: To guide us and help us to love God. It is impossible to love, that which you do not know. Without divine revelation, we can know God, but only very imperfectly. This is the purpose of the sacraments also. They infuse sanctifying grace into the soul, and with it the virtue of charity (love). Faith in divine revelation is the foundation, love or charity is the life.
So, the foundation is Faith, that comes first, then Hope and Love. Faith, does not save without love, but love is not possible without Faith
But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.” Hebrews 11: 6
“….and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” 1 Cor 13:2
But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2: 9