Fides Quaerens Intellectum
Faith Seeking Understanding
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury. He used the expression "fides quaerens intellectum" which means "faith seeking understanding". God has given us the power of reason to learn, figure things out, and understand reality. Our intellects are capable of knowing that there is a God. Yet, we need God to reveal to us that he is a Trinity, three divine persons with one divine nature. We also need Jesus who has come down from Heaven to become one of us, die for us, and rise on the third day. Jesus desires us to be with Him in Heaven. We use both our reason and the gift of faith to begin to know God, choose to love Him, and serve Him in this world so that we may be happy forever with Him in the next.
Does God Bring Good Out of Evil?
When we use our reason, we can see that God often does good things in response to evil things. This doesn't deny or minimize the evil, but we see that God desires our good and takes action to bring it about.
For example, my calcified shoulder tendon is a physical evil. It will likely remain calcified until the Resurrection. With physical therapy, I should be able to keep it under control. Goods from the physical therapy include strengthening of my arms (for faster running) and improving my posture.
Regarding the pandemic, there are many evils. The virus is a physical evil when it causes sickness and death. The isolation we have suffered is an evil. Governments have sometimes done evil things. Even segments of the Church on Earth have failed to take adequate action. Not denying any of these evils, we can see some good and hope for more good. Some families have grown closer together because of spending more time together. Many people have recognized a deeper longing for the Eucharist than ever before. I'm hoping that the pandemic will prompt our parish to become more spiritually alive than we can even imagine now.
In today's first reading, the early Church was persecuted in Jerusalem. That was evil. It prompted most disciples to flee. God brought good to the situation by inspiring the disciples to proclaim Jesus Christ to people in other towns. The pandemic and persecution of the Church in our day can be instruments by which God inspires us to proclaim Jesus Christ.
Yesterday, I read that medical experts are not confident that we'll reach herd immunity like we have with the measles. They're urging people to get a coronavirus vaccine in order to minimize the number of people who get sick. It sounds like we'll have to manage COVID-19 in a way similar to the way we deal with the flu.
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With the changing pandemic situation, I find it hard to predict what we'll be able to do and when. Even so, I don't see us using the chapel as a chapel anytime soon. We're using it as a conference room for up to 20 people. All Masses are taking place in the church where we have a lot more room. I imagine that parishioners are going to want to spread out for quite some time even when the six foot rule and masks are no longer needed.
What we're trying to do on campus is gradually return to something like normal. It won't be the same as 2019. I actually hope that it will be better. Let's pray and act for greater devotion to Jesus Christ. Let's use the gift of faith as we seek to understand Jesus more and what He wants us to do here on Earth.
God love you,
Fr. Jim O'Neill
on Wednesday, April 21 at 11:06AM