Catholic Audio Media Newsletter from St. Anthony Allston, MA
Catholic Audio Media Newsletter from St. Anthony Allston, MA
Thinking as Catholics
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Thinking as Catholics

Teaching on 2 Timothy 1:8-10

When you are learning a language you eventually come to a point where you actually think in the language. Up until that point, you are translating in your head. So if I am saying “Hello, how are you?” in Portuguese, I will think about each word in English and then say it in Portuguese. I think Hello and then how you say Hello in Portuguese and then I say Oi, etc.

Eventually, your brain is able to go directly from your native language to the language you are speaking. So although I can speak Portuguese, I am fluent in Spanish and, therefore, I can quickly speak the language directly.

Many people who do not speak more than one language do not know that when you speak another language you also absorb the culture. So, I am a slightly different person in Spanish or Portuguese than I am in English.

I remember a psychologist once commented to me that she knew people who were shy and reserved in English and they get to South America and all of a sudden they are outgoing and celebrating she never understood why. I explained it to her. You absorb the culture of the language you speak. So you not only think in the language you live in the culture.

This is what we are supposed to do as Catholics. This is why I often explain not to get caught up in a moral code but to remember we seek wisdom that feeds our morality. Once we seek that wisdom that we think in it just like a polyglot thinks in the language and culture he or she is speaking.

This is what it really means to be Catholic.

Let me give you an example: Can someone come to me and prove to me that God does not exist? Nope. Trying to believe that God exists is like trying to speak another language without thinking in it. Persevere and you will begin to think in God’s wisdom just like a polyglot thinks in the language and the culture.

This is what St. Paul is calling us to do in the second reading. He is calling Timothy to live the faith unashamedly and not to allow people to doubt him because of his age. Timothy was very young.

So he calls him to live the faith. What he is actually saying is to live the faith completely to think in it and to let God’s wisdom permeate your way of living and your life.

That is why no one can prove to me that God does not exist. To me, it would be like trying to prove to the faculty at MIT that atoms do not exist. Those who cannot believe in God are like those who have yet to figure out how to think in another language. Often times they are not bad people, but they cannot grasp the ability to understand what we believe.

This is what it means to be Catholic to come to appreciate our faith to the point we understand it as well as we understand our first language.

We are called beyond right and wrong

One of the issues in our Church is that many people do not understand this and this is the problem with our faith being nothing more than a moral code. People are busy thinking about what is right and what is wrong. We are called to be beyond this. We do the right thing because we really that is what it means to be a human created by God. When we do the wrong thing then we realize that we acted against our nature as humans.

This is what sin is. We want to turn from sin because we understand a deeper truth and we know that sin is contrary to that deeper truth.

Let me give you a good example. Now I am not encouraging you to act as I am about to describe. Over the next two weeks on the radio show, I am airing an interview with a man who with his wife runs the Catholic Worker House in Worcester. He lives by Catholic Worker spirituality which means relying totally on divine providence which means, he does not buy insurance on the house. I am not asking you to do the same thing. However, as he explains he has total trust in God, total.

I will assure you, I was fascinated by this and I am not there yet. Do you understand that is his way of thinking believing what Jesus taught to trust in the Lord?

Trust in the Lord

Now let’s take the Encyclical Humane Vitae. There are plenty of people who will recite rules and call people to refrain from using artificial contraception. Those are the people who are like polyglots who do not think in the non-native language they are speaking. “I have to say Hello, I say hello in Spanish saying Holá, so I will say Holá.”

Humanae Vitae calls people to learn to trust the Lord in the same way the man who does not have insurance on his house trusts the Lord there. That goes beyond simply following rules that is a way of thinking, believing understanding and trusting and many people are not there yet. Many other people even those who will condemn people for using contraception have never heard that because even they are not thinking in God’s wisdom level of living our faith.

However, that is the level to which we are called to live it. I will even add that has not been taught in this country which is one of the reasons why the Church in this country has had such intense difficulties. It is about rules and not about living the wisdom of what the Lord is leading us to live.

Consider this during the week. Are you living in a way that you are learning to trust in the Lord?

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