March 31, 2011

Cogency Against Mockery

Cum enim aliquis ad probandam fidem inducit rationes quae non sunt cogentes, cedit in irrisionem infidelium.

"When someone tries to prove the faith by introducing arguments that make no sense, he falls into the mockery of unbelievers." (Summa Theologiae, Ia, 32, 1)

One thing I've come to believe is that many people don't believe in God simply because they have never been introduced to a concept of God to which a reasonable adult could consent. In the same way, I think a lot of us Christians are merely so on the moral or cultural level for the same reason. Or if we do believe in God, we are functional unitarians because we have never been given a portable, reasonable account of the Trinity, or we are vague theists rather than Christians because we have never heard a cogent account of the incarnation or the union of God and man in Christ.

When was the last time you came out of Mass on Trinity Sunday, having heard something mystical and not just mystifying on the Blessed Trinity? Or on the incarnation at Christmas? Or even the Resurrection at Easter? It always makes me so sad when I hear from priests that they don't know how to preach during the Easter season. If we don't know how to preach the central confession of our faith, what are we preaching about in the first place?


Lee Gilbert said...

Honestly, I have heard a surprising number of good sermons on the Trinity. In fact, a transitional deacon in our parish worked a very nice summary of Trinitarian teaching into a sermon he was giving on something else about two months back. He seems determined to work solid doctrine into every sermon he gives.

The same goes for the Incarnation. Maybe this is because we attend the Cathedral parish here in Portland, but it was also true at the Benedictine parish we attended back in Illinois, St. Joan of Arc in Lisle.

Similarly, we find excellent, doctrine filled sermons at Holy Rosary, the Dominican parish here in Portland where we frequently go to daily Mass.

And the same was true of St. John Vianney Parish back in Franklin Park, Il.

But then again, we make it a point to go where the preaching is top notch.

This experience makes me think that good teaching is probably within reach if people are willing to put themselves out to find it.

Judy Kallmeyer said...

I kind of remember a certain Capuchin who preached a phenomenal homily on the Trinity last Trinity Sunday at Sacred Heart, Yonkers!!!!

Greg said...

Br. Charles, you knocked it out of the park with this pithy blog post.

Bold questions are an important aspect of the gospel.