Catholic Universities. That Catholic Universities may increasingly become places where, in light of the gospel, people may experience the unity of faith and reason.
Over the centuries, colleges founded to educate students from the perspective of faith have drifted away from faith and become wholly secular. Pope Benedict XVI, previously a university professor himself, is keenly aware of the way faith can be set aside in an educational institution. And when faith departs, so ultimately does reason. Truth comes by faith and reason working together. This month we are asked to pray that Catholic universities may increasingly become places where people may experience the unity of faith and reason.
Pope John Paul II addressed this topic in his 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason). The Encyclical has two chapters, “I Believe So That I May Understand” and “I Understand So That I May Believe.” The Pope began with these words: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth.”
The crisis of today’s higher education comes not just from the lack of faith, but also from the lack of reason. To some, truth has become an illusion. Truth depends on God. In a world without faith in God, any “truth” is just as good (or as bad) as any other. Like cynical Pontius Pilate, many are now asking, “What is truth?” Their question is not sincere because it contains the assumption that the truth is unknown, unknowable, and irrelevant. But Jesus answered Pilate, “I am the Truth.” Jesus embodies the truth that God is Love and we are God’s children. He is the truth that makes us free. By faith, we affirm the values upon which all knowledge depends: we affirm truth, virtue, and beauty. They lead us to God.
All the advances of science will do no good — and might well do harm — without similar advances in wisdom. On the united wings of faith and reason, we can steer straight to the Truth and our destiny in God. We fly in the light of the Gospel, with goodness, not greed, in our hearts.
How will you speak out for authentic Catholic education in which faith and reason unite?
Proverbs 3:19-22 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, established the heavens by understanding; by his knowledge the depths break open, and the clouds drop down dew. My son, let not these slip out of your sight; keep advice and counsel in view; so will they be life to your soul.
World Mission Day. That World Mission Day may help Christians realize that the task of proclaiming Christ is a necessary service to which the Church is called for the benefit of humanity.
On the third Sunday of October the Church celebrates World Mission Sunday. Special prayers are offered and special collections taken to aid the work of missionaries around the world. The Holy Father writes a special message for the occasion.
In this year’s message Pope Benedict picks up the theme of this month’s missionary intention: that we may realize that proclaiming the Gospel is necessary for the benefit of humanity. How is it necessary? Under commandment from Christ to preach and to baptize, the Church is “by her very nature missionary.” His people proclaim Christ in word and in deed, says the Pope, “because they have found in him the meaning and the truth for their own lives.”
“The missionary mandate,” the Pope continues, “cannot be fulfilled without a profound personal, community and pastoral conversion.” Words are not enough. We must live our faith.
So how does missionary service benefit all of humanity? It benefits all because Christians bring the truth of Jesus, and all humanity is hungry for the truth, which is the love of God.
God’s love alone is the basis for true peace and true happiness, here and now and in heaven forever. The preaching of the Gospel, says the Pope, bears fruit in a more just society and in a human solidarity that prepares us for eternal life.
The Pope said recently to the Mission Societies, “Evangelization needs Christians with arms raised to God in a gesture of prayer, Christians moved by the awareness that the conversion of the world to Christ is not done by us, but is given” by God while we pray and follow the Lord. So, as Apostles of Prayer, we commit ourselves to prayer and alms-giving. This is our duty and our joy.
How do you obey the “missionary mandate” in your own life? How do the truth of Christ and the love of the Father shine through in your daily activities?
John 14:5-7 Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father.”
Daily Offering Prayer
God, our Father, I offer you my day. I offer you my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to your love. With Mary, the mother of our Lord and of the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for the prayer intentions proposed by the Holy Father this month. Amen.
Prayer of the Month
All-holy Father, eternal God, in your goodness you prepared a royal throne for your Wisdom in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; bathe your Church in the radiance of your life-giving Word, that, pressing forward on its pilgrim way in the light of truth, it may come to the joy of a perfect knowledge of your love. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—from the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom