Tuesday, October 18, 2005

So what is this faith thing, anyway?

A good definition of faith

From Julie D. at Happy Catholic.

"For the pastor at the Byzantine Catholic Church who said he didn't know what faith was and if anyone had a good definition to let him know (as reported by TSO).

  • Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
    Saint Augustine
  • Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…
    St. Paul, Hebrews 11:1

If our priest said this I'd start worrying about everything else he said. It seems to me that someone who doesn't have at least an inkling of how they define faith is living an unexamined life. Way too unexamined on a very basic level to be giving the homily and telling everyone else how to live. At the very least, such a person is living a life without having read (even very cursorily) the classic Church Fathers...or certain parts of the Bible. Scary."

That is scary indeed, though I expect it is hardly an unusual circumstance in many denominations today. I am surprised to see it in the clergy of a Byzantine parish, however. Most Eastern clergy have always struck me as being pretty well grounded in the historic faith, with a healthy skepticism of modernist trends and fashions. It reminds me of Holy Amma Syncletica’s comment about teachers:

“It is dangerous for a man to try teaching before he is trained in the good life. A man whose house is about to fall down may invite travelers inside to refresh them, but instead they will be hurt in the collapse of the house. It is the same with teachers who have not carefully trained themselves. Their mouth invites to salvation, their way of life leads to ruin.”
From Ward, S. Benedicta, 2003, The Desert Fathers, Penguin Books, London, Pg. 105.