By Fr. Roy Cimagala
“HOW long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” (Jn 10,24)
Perhaps we too can ask the same question. In spite of what we already know about Christ, we may still be harboring doubts as to whether Christ is really the one he presents himself to be.
I believe the simple answer is that to believe in Christ requires the grace of God. If we just rely on our human faculties, like our intelligence and common sense, we would actually not go very far. At a certain point, we would start to entertain doubts about who Christ really is.
And that is also simply because Christ, while truly a man, is first of all divine. He is a supernatural being. In fact, he is the Supreme Being who has no beginning and no end. While we can know him through his words and deeds as recorded in the gospel, he will always remain a mystery still to us. He overwhelms our capacity to know him.
With him, what we have to do is to believe first before we can start to understand him more deeply. With him, we need to have faith first before the operations of our intelligence and our other faculties do their thing.
Thus, both St. Augustine and St. Anselm enunciated the proper way to understand and believe in Christ. “Credo ut intellegam” (I believe that I might understand) was what they were saying. They made an appeal to follow first our faith before we start to use our intelligence. Or better said, we have to make our reasoning be inspired by our faith first.
We therefore have to see to it that we develop an operative faith. Our faith should not remain only in the theoretical, intellectual level. It has to be a functioning one, giving shape and direction in our thoughts and intentions, our words and deeds. In fact, it should shape our whole life.
The ideal is that we feel it immediately. Indeed, it should be like an instinct such that whatever we think, say or do, or whenever we have to react to something, it is our faith that should guide us.
We have to understand that it is our faith that gives us the global picture of things, since it is God’s gift to us, a gratuitous sharing of what God knows about himself and about the whole of creation. It is meant for our own good, for us to live out our true dignity as children of God.
It is a kind of knowledge that will lead us to our eternal life. It will make us relate everything in our earthly life, both the good and the bad, to this ultimate goal in life which is to be in heaven with God, a state that is supernatural. But it is a divine gift that we need to take care of. It is like a seed that has to grow until it becomes a big tree and bears fruit.
For this, we really need to have a living contact with Christ who is the fullness of God’s revelation to us. He is the substance, the content and the spirit of our faith. So, the first thing that we have to do is to look for him always whatever we may be thinking, saying or doing. Never mind if we do not understand him fully. We should just follow him!