Category Archives: Faith

St. Joan’s virtuous example

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A nice article about St. Joan taken from the SSPX’s primary publication, the Angelus:

How nice it sounds, “St. Joan of Arc.” But through all the history of sanctity you will find this same quality persisting—the quality of realizing that what we see and touch and feel are transitory things and unreal, and that the solid and substantial things, are the things that appear not, the world we only grasp by faith.

And I am insisting on that particular quality this morning because I think it is one that stands out with quite extraordinary clearness in St. Joan’s life: she did really live for a promise, and we know that the promise came true, but she did not—not in this life. She was very young, you know. Did you realize that she was less than twenty years old when she was burnt at the stake? It is not true that she dressed as a man: she dressed as a boy. When she was only thirteen years old, at the age when other boys and girls were fidgeting and playing the fool during Mass, as people did in those days, she could hardly go out of doors without hearing the voices of saints and angels talking to her. And those voices dominated her life; they echoed so loudly in her ears that all the world’s noises were drowned for her. People said: “It is very silly of a small girl like you to think she can go and see the King”—she did not hear them. And the King, as you well know, disguised himself and hid among his courtiers, and she went straight up to him: “But I am not the King,” he said; “that is the King over there.” “Oh, yes, you are; I have come to raise the siege of Orleans and crown you King at Rheims.” It was no good; the voices had told her about it. And I suppose when she had been appointed Chief of the Army, the General Staff would always be raising military difficulties about re-entrant angles and being enfiladed by arquebus-fire, and so on, but it did not make a bit of difference to her, she always did what the voices told her—they were close to her ear, you see, and the criticisms of the General Staff were only a distant echo. She went out, not knowing whither she went.

And of course she had disappointments. After the first few victories, after the crowning of the King, the people she had come to save contented themselves with a partial conquest, and hung about making treaties and demobilizing troops. And truly, if she had been mindful of that from whence she came out, she had doubtless time to return; she could have gone back to Domremy and rested on her laurels. But the ingratitude and apathy of the court affected her no more than its honours had done; she simply went on obeying the voice. And the French lords played her false, and she was taken prisoner. But she endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

And then came the hardest time of all. I do not think she minded being in prison; I do not think she minded the threat of execution; that was not why she tried to escape. No, it was simply that it seemed quite obvious to her she was to deliver France—the voices had told her so—and France was not yet delivered. And so she went to the stake, her hopes still unfulfilled, but never doubting for an instant that the voices were true. Five years later the King entered Paris; twenty-two years later, England had no possessions left on French soil. She believed that he was faithful who had promised, not having received the promises, but beholding them afar off and saluting them. She could not foresee that her unjust condemnation would be reversed, point by point, twenty-five years after her death: she could not foresee that, nearly five hundred years after her death, France, once more liberated, would receive the tiding of her canonization by the tribunal to which, in life, she never ceased to appeal, the tribunal of the Holy See. But she believed that he was faithful who had promised.

That, then, is her great witness, as is the witness of all the saints: that is her capital contribution to our Christian hope—we know, because the saints have told us so, that it is the things of this world that are shams and shadows, and the real things and the solid things are the things we cannot see. Our Saviour Christ has ascended up into heaven, and a cloud received Him from our sight, but we are not therefore to think of the spiritual world as something far removed from us, only to be reached by a supreme effort of thought. On the contrary, the spiritual world is all about us: the voices are still there, only St. Joan could hear them and we cannot. I wonder whose fault that is? Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

From the May, 1983 issue of The Angelus

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Faith

I’m not a theologian so forgive me if there are any mistakes in the following. This is a short post on the first theological Virtue, that of Faith.

Faith is the belief in the unseen, the divine, for the supernatural is invisible to us.  We cannot see God, except in the Blessed Sacrament, for if we saw Him in all His glory, we would die, as the Scriptures say.  What then, is divine faith?  It is a supernatural virtue, whereby we assent with our intellect to the truths revealed by God, only on His authority. We accept with our minds and wills what God has revealed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, because God has revealed them, who cannot deceive.  Faith is the foundation of Christianity.  Without Faith, there would be no basis for belief in the Resurrection of Our Lord, for example.  We believe in an unseen event.  We have faith that the eyewitnesses saw what they claimed, though we were not there ourselves to witness the truth of Christ’s Resurrection.  We walk by Faith, not by sight.  Remember that we do have blind faith but rather it is confirmed by miracles and prophecies, which are divine acts of God.

From the Baltimore Catechism, #3:

Q. 465. What is Faith?

A. Faith is a Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed.

We can know things through our natural reason, but supernatural things we know with our supernatural reason, through Divine Revelation.  This virtue of Faith allows us to believe in the supernatural which cannot be arrived at through the natural reason alone.

Vatican I states, “The Catholic Church has always held that there is a twofold order of knowledge, and that these two orders are distinguished from one another not only in their principle but in their object; in one we know by natural reason, in the other by Divine faith; the object of the one is truth attainable by natural reason, the object of the other is mysteries hidden in God, but which we have to believe and which can only be known to us by Divine revelation.”

Some others quotes on Faith:

To be sure, life built on faith should be the fruit of religions formation. Faith, however, is not a matter of imagination or pious emotion; but, on the contrary, it is an intellectual recognition (of not a rational permeation) and a voluntary acceptance by the will; a complete development of faith is one of the most profound acts of the individual, one in which all his powers become acute.”   ~St. Edith Stein

“Reason is one thing, and faith is another, and reason can as little be made a substitute for faith, as faith can be made a substitute for reason.” ~Cardinal Newman

“There is nothing more certain than our faith, nothing safer, nothing more holy, nothing that rests on firmer principles.”   ~Pope Pius IX

“The beginning of a good life, to which also life eternal is owed, is correct faith. Faith, however, is believing what you do not yet see; to which faith is the reward is seeing what you believe. Let us not fail in the time for faith, therefore, as in a time for sowing, and let us not fail even to the end; but let us persevere, until we can reap what we have sown.”   ~St. Augustine

“We must have this firm faith not only in some but in all the truths which God has made known, although they may be altogether incomprehensive to us. Faith will not allow of the rejection of even one; and he who should voluntarily entertain a doubt of one single article – one single point of faith – could not be said to have faith at all. We believe everything that God has revealed, precisely for this reason: that God has said it.”  ~Fr. Michael Muller

“If anyone says that the assent to Christian faith is not free, but is necessarily produced by arguments of human reason; or that the grace of God is necessary only for living faith which works by charity: let him be anathema.”    ~First Vatican Council

“Faith is the first link that unites us to God; for, as the apostles says, he that cometh to God, must believe (Heb. xi. 6). It brings us to God, and keeps us there. Our Savior here tells us that he who believeth is not judged: and the reason is, that he, whose faith is what our Gospel implies it to be, does not only assent to a doctrine, but he embraces it with his whole heart and mind; he believes it, because he wishes to love what he believes. Faith works, and is perfected by charity; but it is itself a foretaste of charity. Therefore does our Lord promise salvation to him that believeth. This faith meets with obstacles, because of our fallen nature. As we have just been told, light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light. In this our age, darkness is prevalent. Even false lights are seen to rise up, and mislead thousands. We repeat it: faith – that faith which brings us to God and saves us from His judgments – is now rare.”   ~Fr. Gueranger

Faith is evidence of the unseen, as Scripture so clearly states: “Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.”  ~Hebrews 11:1

If we have faith, we must have works as well. Works are evidence of our faith.  What better work is there than to help a soul come to Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ and naturally, His Church?

Today’s crisis in the Catholic Church has tested the faith of many.  Can an institution survive attack on all sides and still stand?  Yes, a divine institution can; the Catholic Church has indeed survived and continues to survive the greatest crisis in her history because the Church is of supernatural origin, guided and thriving by and through supernatural Faith that She gives to her children in this vale of tears, so that they can reach heaven, guided by belief in the unseen, Faith, to ultimately attain the fulfillment of Faith, belief in the seen, the Beatific Vision of God, where he will be seen as he is, face to face.

~Damsel of the Faith