Here is a post from Ryan, who is studying abroad in Austria! This is a great read!
Greetings COR Family!
Grüβ Gott! As they say in Gaming, Austria. It is wonderful to have a chance to write to all of you. I have only begun my journey on the other side of the world, but it has already been an opportunity to grow. It is amazing to witness how far back in time our faith truly reaches. “Grüβ Gott” literally translates as, “God greet you.” While it is likely that the religious aspect of this greeting is not on the minds of those who say it, it shows how deep the faith runs. Another time I saw this was when we went to the Melk Abbey (Melk Courtyard, Church at Melk), a Benedictine monastery that has been active since 1089. For nine centuries, there have been monks living here. That’s twice as old as the reformation and thrice as old as the United States. While we think that Molly’s first COR seems like forever ago, our family in Christ has been around for almost two millennia.
A lot has happened in two millennia. In reading the Early Church Fathers for my Honors class, it is incredible the difference in faith and childlike simplicity I have noticed between then and now. Reading the ancient scholars, I was amazed to see how integrated the Sacred Scriptures are in their works. It is a faith infused with prayer and Scripture, not a belief, like cold reason. Rev. Fulton J. Sheen once said that one cannot use the Bible when discussing faith with a Muslim because he has his own “bible.” Instead, one must use reason. The Catechism also attests to this:
39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.
I think there exists a phenomenon today in which we are trying so hard to discuss the faith on the same level as the modern world—namely, with cold reason. While it is important to open up the faith to these people, there exists a tendency to forget that the faith goes immensely beyond reason. Our Sacred Texts themselves are described as such in the Catechism:
50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Sacred Scripture is not a philosophical essay pointing out the arguments and counterarguments for God’s existence and the moral life. They are God’s self-revealing of immense Love for his people.
If I were to never come back to the United States, and never to call, email, text, or in any way communicate with anyone, how could I say I have a relationship with any of you? Our relationship with God is no different. It requires quality time. It requires a LOT of it. Prayer, in one dimension, is talking with God. But the Scripture is also a form of communication! Isn’t it frustrating when you call a friend and leave a voicemail, but he never listens to it? Or you send them an e-mail that she never reads? God gave us Scripture so that we might have a way to communicate with him.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35