Relationship Between Faith and Reason: Essay

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The present research has been writing about the Eucharist, a broad subject in theological studies, but he has focused on the renewal of Jesus' sacrifice in every Mass. As he has been writing along, he noticed the need to offer a better understanding of this specific aspect of the Christian faith by seeing the relationship between theology and philosophy. So, he turned to a document, Fides et Ratio, to look for some insights. He thinks that it is important to offer the foundations of rational thought to explain the mysteries of faith, such as the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and the renewal of his self-sacrifice. By doing so, he wants to help others, including himself, to celebrate the paschal mystery in the Eucharist with conviction, devotion, and hope in life eternal.

John Paul II says that faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth. He talks about the foundation of knowledge through philosophy, but he emphasizes the importance of faith and reason to know the truth. He says that the two sources of knowledge are natural reason and divine faith. According to him, the truth attained by philosophy and the truth of Revelation is neither identical nor mutually exclusive. Philosophy and the sciences function within the order of natural reason; while faith, enlightened and guided by the Spirit, recognizes in the message of salvation the fullness of grace and truth, which God has willed to reveal in history and definitively through his Son, Jesus Christ. He says that truth, natural and revealed, finds unity in Christ. This truth, which God reveals to us in Jesus Christ, is not opposed to the truths that philosophy perceives. On the contrary, the two modes of knowledge lead to truth in all its fullness. The unity of truth is a fundamental premise of human reasoning, as the principle of non-contradiction makes clear. He adds that faith and reason cannot be separated because they complement each other, even when they seem to oppose each other as the wisdom of the world (see 1 Cor 3:19) against the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ. He says that human logic is challenged at the event of the cross. It is here that every attempt to reduce the Father's saving plan to purely human logic is doomed to failure. Man cannot grasp how death could be the source of life and love; yet to reveal the mystery of his saving plan God has chosen precisely that which reason considers foolishness and a scandal.

The pope affirms that faith illuminates reason, and mentions that some Fathers of the Church, like Origen and Clement, used philosophy to explain the mysteries of God. Assuming many elements of Platonic thought, Origen built an early form of Christian theology. The foundation of philosophy helps to have a rational discourse about God. He says that reason helps to find the yearnings of the human soul, but Christian faith leads to finding the truth. Surpassing the goal towards which it unwittingly tended by dint of its nature, reason attained the supreme good and ultimate truth in the person of the Word made flesh.

In Fides et Ratio, John Paull says that the Church reaffirms the need to reflect upon the truth and invites philosophers and theologians to proclaim the truth openly, exploring the different aspects of truth. He affirms that the Church has its origins in God, who makes Himself known through Revelation, As the source of love, God desires to make himself known; and the knowledge that the human being has of God perfects all that the human mind can know of the meaning of life. He says that Revelation is still a mystery because our understanding of God is limited, but through faith, it is possible to penetrate the mystery and understand it coherently. He affirms that because God makes himself known; He is the source of credibility of what He reveals. John Paul II talks about the obedience of faith: Faith is said first to be an obedient response to God, and by faith, people give their assent to this divine testimony. There are two dimensions of faith: cognitive and fiducial. The cognitive dimension communicates a truth, a doctrine, or some specific content. But the cognitive dimension is not enough. Therefore, the fiducial dimension trusts God, the source of Revelation.

The pope talks about God`s Revelation in human history and affirms that the whole work of creation and salvation finds meaning in Christ, with the Incarnation of the Son of God. He says that Jesus Christ was sent as a human being to human beings to complete the work of salvation. God takes on a human face and the Eternal enters time to show his love for humanity. The truth communicated in Christ's Revelation is therefore no longer confined to a particular place or culture but is offered to every man and woman who would welcome it as the word which is the absolutely valid source of meaning for human life.

John Paul II says that to remain faithful to the teachings of the Apostles, the Church uses three essential points of reference: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church. He mentions that theology is structured as an understanding of faith in the light of a twofold methodological principle: the listening of the faith (audits fidei) and the understanding of the faith (intellectus fidei). He comments that by listening to the faith, theology makes its own content of Revelation according to the teachings of Scripture-Tradition-Magisterium. By the understanding of the faith, theology seeks to respond through speculative inquiry to the specific demands of disciplined thought. Philosophy contributes specifically to theology in preparing for a correct audits fidei with its study of the structure of knowledge and personal communication. He adds that the intellectus fidei expounds the truth in bringing to light the salvific meaning of these propositions for the individual and for humanity. He affirms that from the sum of these propositions, the believer comes to know the history of salvation, which culminates in the person of Jesus Christ and in his paschal mystery.

Karol Jozef Wojtyla mentions that the role of Christian theology is to give an understanding of Revelation and the content of faith, especially explaining the emptying or relinquishment of divine attributes of Jesus Christ by becoming human.

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The very heart of theological inquiry will thus be the contemplation of the mystery of the Triune God. The approach to this mystery begins with reflection upon the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God: his coming as man, he's going to his Passion and Death, a mystery issuing into his glorious Resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of the Father, whence he would send the Spirit of truth to bring his Church to birth and give her growth. From this vantage point, the prime commitment of theology is seen to be the understanding of God's kenosis, a grand and mysterious truth for the human mind, which finds it inconceivable that suffering and death can express a love that gives itself and seeks nothing in return.

According to Wojtyla, divine Scripture has the authority to reveal the mysteries of God, for example, the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist according to the words Take and eat this is my body (see 1 Cor 11:24), and the purpose of it: for the forgiveness of sins (see Mt 26:28) and for eternal life (see John 6:54). The pope comments, In a sense, then, we return to the sacramental character of Revelation and especially to the sign of the Eucharist, in which the indissoluble unity between the signifier and signified makes it possible to grasp the depths of the mystery. Following the words of Jesus recorded in the gospels, the pope affirms the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist: In the Eucharist, Christ is truly present and alive, working through his Spirit. He mentions that even though it looks like common bread in the eyes of reason, faith leaves nature far behind to recognize this special mode of presence. He says that intelligence enables everyone, believers, and non-believers, to increase knowledge, but Revelation has a unique contribution:

What is distinctive in the biblical text is the conviction that there is a profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge of reason and the knowledge of faith. The world and all that happens within it, including history and the fate of peoples, are realities to be observed, analyzed, and assessed with all the resources of reason, but without faith ever being foreign to the process. Faith intervenes not to abolish reason's autonomy nor to reduce its scope for action, but solely to bring the human being to understand that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts. Thus, the world and the events of history cannot be understood in depth without professing faith in the God who is at work in them. Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence.

Theology works directly with the authoritative sources of God`s revelation, mainly, Scripture, but there are broad implications for the nature and purpose of theology itself. There is plurality in types or styles of theology; there are different churches, confessions, and consequently, different theologies. In a postmodern climate, we attend to the complexity of the self and to the multiplicity of selves. One traditional way of expressing the theological movement of understanding is Anselm`s definition of theology as faith-seeking understanding. Theological understanding takes place within the habits of faithful living. Theological understanding is historical, existential, and temporal, but this understanding involves more than history, existence, and time. Faith is the point of departure for understanding realities that serve as the first concern of other intellectual disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, philosophy, or other branches of natural sciences.

Theology involves much more than the interpretation of divine Revelation, and sometimes addresses questions of the self, culture, and language. Christian theology grants a primary place to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christian theology studies the incarnation of God for the sake of redeemed humanity. Jesus' institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper was the provision for this historical acting presence for the future that is meant to be shaped by him. The origins of the Church reside within the origins of the celebration of the Eucharist. Eucharistic systematic theology engages the full scope of theological concerns in order to reveal, shape, and illuminate them as dimensions of the Eucharistic reality, the invitation to share God`s life of communion and to live this communion on earth as it is in heaven.

We can recognize different modes of Christ`s presence: Scripture, sacraments, assembly of the baptized, and the needy. The theological content of the Eucharistic people is the ecclesial extension of the presence and sacrifice of Christ within their common life. In the celebration of the Eucharist, the Church remembers, proclaims, and participates in the sacrifice of Christ. Sacrifice marks the nature and purpose of the Church, which she shares in Christ`s redemptive work. As a space opened by the sacrifice of Christ, the Church is a place where sacrificial living makes sense.

The life of the early Christians was a Eucharistic one. When individuals became Christians by baptism, they were brought into the assembly to join in the prayers of the people and to stay for the Eucharistic prayer and communion. So, the Eucharist became the life of the Church. While the offering is the pivotal movement of the Eucharistic life, remembering Jesus is its center of gravity. Jesus' mandate, Do this in remembrance of me, binds the Eucharistic action to the particularity of his person. We do not remember Jesus without the Eucharistic action, and we do not have a Eucharistic action without remembering him.

The proclamation of the gospel is a service to the Christian community and to the whole of humanity. The Eucharistic mission is to teach people how to remember Jesus. The mission is about feeding people; it is about giving life. However, his feeding is not just sustaining the basic human needs but preparing them for a banquet with eternal proportions. We are to proclaim the Word of God to them and to provide a basic and accessible framework for understanding who Christ is and why he matters for us, and possibly for them.

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Relationship Between Faith and Reason: Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
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