Faith or reason

lent2016

Reading: 1 Corinthians 2

12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.

 

Augustine, although engulfed by passions, did not stop search­ing for true happiness. He took up the study of philosophy whilst still practicing his speaking skills:

Augustine:
"This changed my way of feeling and the character of my prayers to you, O Lord, for under its influence my petitions and desires altered. All my hollow hopes suddenly seemed worthless, and with unbelievable intensity my heart burned with longing for the immortality that wisdom seemed to promise. I began to rise up, in order to return to you. My interest was not aroused by its usefulness in the honing of my verbal skills (which was supposed to be the object of the studies I was now pursuing, in my nineteenth year, at my mother’s expense, since my father had died two years earlier); no, it was not merely as an instrument for sharpening my tongue, for it had won me over by what it had to say.”

Augustine began to understand the mistakes he had made in life and his longing for true happiness intensified. Yet he now encountered another ob­stacle: the relationship between faith and reason. At the time he believed the question should be resolved by a choice between two alternatives: faith or reason. We can assume that Augustine chose the latter: reason. For a time he became a follower not of the God who offers faith, but the god who taught him philosophy. Yet he also came to the valuable conclusion that in life one must search for what is truly important. Augustine’s path to God was still to be long and winding but he had taken a step forward.

“Lord, help, me never to live superficially but always be restless and thirsty for the Truth.  Help me avoid pseudo-truths which are incapable of giving my heart lasting peace. Allow me to find that Truth that gives meaning to life and is where I find serenity and joy."