St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 2 Lesson 1

 

Why study the faith?

Preparation
Podcast: Why study the faith? 
Podcast: Notes
Catechism: Q1-10
My Catholic Faith: Chapter 1
Map of Life by Frank Sheed: Chapters 1-2
Summa Theologica 1aQ1a1

Definition of “the faith”

  • The faith in the objective sense (that which is believed) is God and all His creatures in as much as they are in relation to Him.
  • The faith in the subjective sense (that by which one believes) either natural reason (natural faith) or natural reason illuminated by the supernatural virtue of faith (supernatural faith).

Definition of theology

1. Theology is the science of the faith. Theology may be natural or supernatural. Usually, when we talk of theology, we mean supernatural theology.

  material object principal of cognition means of cognition formal object
natural theology
(part of philosophy)

God and all His creatures in as much as they are in relation to Him

reason alone

observation of creatures

God as Creator and Lord (Deus Unus, Creator et Dominus)

supernatural theology

God and all His creatures in as much as they are in relation to Him

 

reason illuminated by faith

Divine Revelation (sacred scripture
tradition)

God one and three (Deus Unus et Trinus)

2. Theology is wisdom which is the knowledge of all things in relation to their highest cause.

3. Theology is the greatest of all sciences:

  • by the sublimity of its object: God.
  • by the certitude of its conclusions: the certitude of faith
  • by its practical finality: to bring a soul to eternal bliss in heaven 

Division of theology

  • Dogmatic theology: the study of the truths of the Faith (which are the same as "the teachings of the Church" or the "truths of the Catholic Religion").
  • Biblical-historical theology: this includes biblical introduction, hermeneutics, exegesis; Church history, history of Liturgy, Church legal history and patrology.
  • Practical theology: moral theology, canon law, pastoral theology (catechetics and homeletics).

Why study the faith?

Everything has a purpose or finality in the universe; there is an answer to the question "what's it for?" for every single creature.

A creature is perfect in the measure that it achieves its purpose or arrives at its finality. The finality of man, for example, is the supernatural perfection of all his faculties - the greatest among these are his intellect and will.

  • The supernatural perfection of the intellect is in supernatural wisdom (the knowledge of all things in the light of their highest cause) which is the same as perfect knowledge of God. This perfect knowledge of God may be attained only in the Beatific Vision in heaven.
  • The supernatural perfection of the will is in the consumation of love which is in the perfect union with the perfect good. This perfect union with God is only possible with the Beatific Vision in heaven.

So man arrives at his finality (or achieves his purpose or reaches his perfection) by the act of perfectly knowing and loving God. This means that, before man reaches heaven, his primary purpose is to strive for heaven. Hence the best known and loved catechsim answer: God made me to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world...

We need to study the faith to begin to know God in order to begin to love Him.