Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

5/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In falling in love with the Person of Jesus Christ and his life, deeds and words, the sublime doorway to truth and life is cast open as we live in the womb of the Church.

"In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear" (Gaudium et Spes 22 1). In falling in love with the Person of Jesus Christ and his life, deeds and words, the sublime doorway to truth and life is cast open. Here, in the womb of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the light of truth floods in, which allows for peaceful rest in the secure answers to life's most pressing questions.

Highlights

By F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Catholic Church, fullness of truth, supernatural revelation, revelation, God, scripture, tradition, truth about God, truth, divine truth, F. K. Bartels


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- Humanity's search for meaning in life is found displayed, either subtlety or boldly, in its art and artifacts spread over the centuries, some of which date to the earliest known civilizations. From the Tell Asmar Statues of the ancient Sumerians, whose striking and wide-eyed figures are fixed in postures of prayer, to the High Renaissance age and Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, with its serene figure of a dignified and rather mysterious woman, and beyond to the art of contemporary society, it is clear that humankind is engaged in an unceasing quest to know the truth about itself and about God.

In many ways this quest has been, to some extent, derailed at present. The glossy veneer of technology and an often exaggerated emphasis on science, along with the pervasive influence of secularism, and, worse, forms of atheism such as positivism and empiricism, have dulled the ability to reflect on the heavenly things above and on the profoundness of human life. Our sense of mystery and wonder have been striped bare by the mundane, and, having lost our taste for the sacred and our desire to reflect on the exquisite, we have settled comfortably into a strange fascination with the ordinary.

Nevertheless, if we will but reflect for a time on the deepest longings of our hearts, it will become apparent that the desire to answer life's most pressing questions remains permanently lodged within our beings, for we intuitively sense that these answers are connected to our future happiness. That this need of ours for truth is repressed or seemingly forgotten for a time, is due to the noise and distractions present in our lives, not to its unimportance. In any case, we want to really know who we are and what it means to be human because these things matter.

Additionally, we desperately need to know the truth about God because he is the absolute end for which we were created and to which we are unceasingly called. The truth about ourselves and God is necessary in order to grasp our origin and destiny; it is required to know how to act and how to live; it is an indispensable element in the authentic development of the human person; it is something to which the human intellect is irrepressibly drawn.

Further, there is something within us all that wants to burst outward and upward, rising above the flat, muddy plains to soar delightfully into the brilliant light of the heavens. We thirst not for the mundane and ordinary, but for the extraordinary, the sublime, the profound, the Divine. Humanity is a people who crave to be "made new" and experience a wholly new way of living; something which is possible only in a relationship of love with God, who is himself the giver of all marvelous and exquisite gifts. Our spirit thirsts to unite with the Spirit of God.

That we desire these things provides clear evidence of our need for God. Some time of reflection should bring us to conclude that the sublime and perfect happiness we want cannot be acquired by the possession of created objects. No amount of wealth, prestige or power, human friendship or romantic intimacy, can fulfill us permanently, because, however wonderful they may seem, these things are fleeting and finite. We were made for eternal communion with the infinite God and thus cannot be totally fulfilled by anything less. That is why, regardless of how hard we labor to fulfill ourselves with created objects, life retains a certain degree of emptiness. In the midst of such a desert, the human heart cries out: let this aridity give way to the lush and delightful warmth of the heavenly kingdom of God, that I may be forever immersed in everlasting joy and love! As the grass and flowers alike unceasingly reach for the rays of the Sun, so too humanity seeks to fill itself with the fiery yet soothing heat of the divine love of God.

"Man bears within him a thirst for the infinite," said Pope Benedict XVI, "a longing for eternity, a quest for beauty, a desire for love, a need for light and for truth which impel him towards the Absolute; man bears within him the desire for God" (General Audience, St. Peter's Square, 11 May 2011).

That God is Creator really says it all. It is God who gives meaning to human life. While all of this makes sense, there is here encountered a problem obvious to anyone who is sincerely interested in the truth about God. It is not enough to simply know that God is the Creator; we need to understand something more about God and his plan for humanity. We need knowledge. However, given the perplexing array of opinions regarding who and what God is, including what John Paul II noted to be a state of deplorable disunity among Christians, we here arrive at the obvious question: how do we learn the truth about God?

Of course Catholics and other Christians will note that in "these days God has spoken to us in his Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man, who "speaks the words of God" (Jn 3:34), and who himself is the perfect revelation of the Father (cf. Jn 14:9) and the complete fulfillment of God's revelation to humankind. Yet our problem does not go away: misunderstanding, doctrinal confusion, disunity and division -- all of these remain a persistent and tragic reality.

Nevertheless, Jesus the Christ, the eternal Word of God made flesh, remains the indispensable key to knowing God, understanding his plan for humanity and even to understanding humanity itself. "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear" (Gaudium et Spes 22 1). The simplest way to solve what seems an unsolvable conundrum, then, is to take the obvious approach: fall in love with the Person of Jesus Christ and his life, deeds and words.

We begin with the belief that Christ is God made man, who suffered and died for humanity -- the historicity of the gospels give irrefutable weight to this claim -- and thus sacrificed his human life for love of humankind and for the truth about reality as it is. Christ said of himself, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6); and "For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice" (Jn 18:37). The Son of God did not become man merely to establish a religion or lay down a moral code. The Word became flesh to save us by reconciling us to God; that we might know God's love for us; to be our model of holiness; and to make us partakers of the divine nature (CCC 457-460). The life of Christ reveals the profound meaning and dignity of human life, as well as our astonishing destiny, in the full light of truth.

Again, we must lovingly listen to the voice of Christ. We must sincerely, diligently and devoutly examine his deeds and words. What did our Lord have to say about perpetuating the truth about God throughout all time? What did Jesus Christ do to permanently insure that humankind would have access to the truth about God, his plan, and about humanity itself? Did Jesus leave us with the Bible? Nope. He did not write any Scripture. Did Jesus die on the cross only to leave us to ourselves in the hope that, randomly or by chance or by majority rule, we might somehow manage against all odds to sort things out, knowing all the while we would rapidly make nothing but a wreck of it all? Nope. That would be entirely incompatible with God's omniscience, as well as with his love and compassionate concern for his children. It would indeed be reckless of God, and recklessness is not one of his attributes. Christ came to save us from sin and from error; he came to testify to the truth. In fact, he suffered and died in a horrendously cruel way for it. How do we hear his voice of truth today?

The answer to that question leads us to precisely why Jesus established his one, holy catholic and apostolic Church -- not "churches" nor the contemporary error of believing Christ founded a "faith" called "Christianity" that is "solely based on the Bible" -- upon St. Peter (see Mt 16:17-19), giving to him the keys to the kingdom and the powers to bind and loose, and giving also authority to the other apostles (see Mt 18:15-19). Christ perpetuates the truth about God and his plan for humankind for all time by making his Church, the Church of the living God, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15). He accomplishes this task by the sending of his Spirit upon the apostles, their successors (bishops), and the entire Church herself, in order to guide the Church into all truth (Jn 16:13), and transmit the voice of Christ (Lk 10:16) to all of humanity for all generations.

Simply, Christ gives to the Church her life, light and mission. Further, the Church is the body of Christ (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 6:15, 12:20-27; Col 1:18). In a real way, then, the Church is Christ, whose mission is to perpetuate her Beloved's words and deeds for all time and to all people.

History provides the proof that the Catholic Church has "deed and title" to the true Christian religion (Rev. O'Brien), since only she dates historically to Christ, with uninterrupted continuity and unity to the Savior's cross itself, where from the pierced side of our Lord flowed forth the "wondrous sacrament of the whole Church" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 5).

If you want to hear the truth, listen to the voice of Christ transmitted infallibly by the Church. Within the living womb of the Church of Jesus Christ, humankind receives supernatural, divine revelation. Through this revelation, God chose to share with men "treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind" (Dei Verbum 6). These treasures are God's self-disclosure: Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture; the words and deeds of God; the truth about God's intervention in human history, including his salvific plan for humanity; and who and what humankind really is, which is definitively unveiled in the life of Christ.

Here we have circled back to the beginning of our topic: humanity's unceasing desire to really know God and really know itself. The Church provides the answers. The confusion over the truth about God and humankind rapidly dissipates if we accept in faith Jesus Christ and the divine plan of the Father, which is the "convocation" of humanity in his Son, and this "convocation" is the Church (CCC 760). Simply, the Church is the Father's loving plan to bring truth and salvation to all people through his Son and under the unfailing guidance of his Spirit.

The Church confers on her children the gift of the Holy Spirit by virtue of the sacrament of Baptism, which is a share in the supernatural life of God, and thus, by this divine mission, has a unique affect on the entire world: "The Church does not only communicate divine life to man but in some way casts the reflected light of that life over the entire earth, most of all by its healing and elevating impact on the dignity of the person" (GS 40). The Church is not merely a human institution, but rather a total and unique divine and human community, with an indispensable contribution to make to humanity and the future of every person.

Do you want to partake of the fullness of human life, and attain the sublime destiny to which God has called you? "The Church has a single intention: that God's kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass" (GS 45). It is by the Church's communication of supernatural revelation to humankind, the treasures of the word of God to the world, as well as by conferring on her children the sacraments of life, which give to the faithful a share in the divine life of God, that the Father's plan of salvation and truth in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is brought unwaveringly and without fail toward its completion.

In the secure and motherly womb of the Church, the city of truth and holy dwelling place for humanity, we mercifully receive truth and life and live, this moment, in the kingdom of God. There, the desire of the human heart is fulfilled in hearing the voice of Christ and in becoming forever united to him, whose own body and blood has paved a path for humanity to everlasting communion with the Father. Praise be to God!

-----

F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows the Catholic Church transmits the fullness of truth and offers the fullest means of salvation; therefore his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Living Faith

Papal visit to US not confirmed, but archbishop confident

Image of Pope Francis coming to Philly next September!

By Catholic News Agency (News Consortium)

Lets all Pray that Pope Francis comes to visit us here in the United States of America. Philadelphia, PA  (CNA/EWTN) - Reports that Pope Francis will travel to the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families in 2015 remain unconfirmed by the Vatican; however, ... continue reading


Catholic should be a way of life, not just a Sunday thing

Image of Catholic means universal. It's time to apply that to how we live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To know the way forward, we must look to the past. As the very first chapter Ecclesiastes tells us, "there is no new thing under the sun," meaning that everything we think of as new is actually old and whatever we can imagine has been imagined, and even tried by those ... continue reading


Let the Holy Spirit Teach us How to Become Prayer Watch

Image of St. Paul wrote to the early Christians in Greece, telling them to pray without ceasing. (1 Th. 5:16-19) They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, bills, and yes, difficulties and struggles beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith. Yet, he instructed them to Pray without ceasing. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he ... continue reading


Pope Francis meets, blesses Sudanese woman condemned to death for faith Watch

Image of Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy, but has since escaped her sentence and left Sudan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has met and blessed the Sudanese woman who was recently condemned to death for her faith. Meriam Ibrahim was condemned to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has met and blessed Meriam Ibrahim at the ... continue reading


MIRACLE IN ENGLAND: God's face smiles over Norfolk, or is it Sean Connery or Karl Marx? Watch

Image of This image is suspected to show the face of God in clouds over Norfolk, however, it may also be the face of Karl Marx or Sean Connery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The English have long thought themselves special, and a new photograph from Norfolk in England may just prove that God does indeed smile on the English. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amateur photographer Jeremy Fletcher took an image that shows a face in ... continue reading


Pope Francis to visit Mafia stronghold this weekend Watch

Image of Pope Francis' stance against organized crime is seen as remarkable; the Mafia and the Catholic Church have previously been seen by many as having

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Incensed about the loss of innocent life in his immediate surroundings, Pope Francis plans to travel to the Mafia stronghold of Caserta, near Naples this weekend in an effort to set things right. The murder of three-year-old Nicola "Coco" Campolongo, a boy who ... continue reading


Pope expresses regret with exodus of Christians from Mosul Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

In his weekly Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis mourned the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were told by ISIS forces last week to either convert, pay the Jizya tax or leave. (CNA/EWTN News) - "They are persecuted; our brothers are ... continue reading


Your Catholic Voice Foundation delivers for Sisters of St. Joseph

Image of They're on their way, thanks to you.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An order for 350 Bibles for a Catholic school in Grenada has been shipped to the sisters free of international shipping charges, thanks to you, the readers of Catholic Online. The shipping charges stood at approximately $800, and was covered by donations. Now, Your ... continue reading


This is Ch__ch. What is missing?

Image of What's missing? You are!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What's missing from this church? You are! Are we mistaken? Show up and tell us you are already there and get your daily prayer and more for FREE as our thanks.Click here now to say you're there!Now you can share this question with your friends. Are they at church? continue reading


Unaccompanied migrant children need our help

Image of This is an image of immigrant children presently housed in conditions that would be unconstitutional for convicted felons. These children are without their families, alone and afraid and without control over their future, they are the victims of many culprits.

By Tony Magliano

Tens of thousands of children fleeing desperate conditions have entered the United States asking for help. And many more are coming. What kind of welcome is being offered to them? The answer to that question is still largely undetermined. According to Human Rights ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter