Published January 18, 2019, 12:05 AM

by Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ



Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ
Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

The first part of the Mass is dedicated to the Word or the Scriptures.  It is the reading of the Old Testament and then of the New Testament or the Covenant with God. It is an agreement specifying faithfulness to God while God provides us with the graces that we need to be true to the agreement. In this our separated brothers, the Protestants, have a lot to teach us since they abandoned the second half of the Mass. They concentrated all their effort on the Word or the Bible. In You Tube there is a series by Dr.Scott Hanh which explains our faith simply and clearly.  He was a Protestant minister but in his study of the Scriptures he was guided back to mother Church. (In You Tube under the titles: Deep in History and Coming Home, there are excellent lectures on the Faith and Scriptures.  Also under ESPN there are excellent programs on the faith.)

One of their lectures is on the precursors to the Protestant revolt.  After the middle Ages there were the thoughts of Ockham, Marcellus of Padua, and Machiavelli who were the precursors of the Protestant revolt. Their idea was to separate the intellect and the will.  And one of the consequences of this is the making of the absolutism of the will. This meant that God is an absolute ruler who could do whatever He wanted He could do.  Machiavelli also pronounced his famous dictum of: The end justifies the means. The will of God was arbitrary.  As Calvin taught God could predestine a man to heaven or to hell.  And there is no one who could gainsay Him. This is not our God.  Our God has Will and Intellect joined together. He is not arbitrary. He is guided by His intellect and his purpose for creating man which is to show His love for His creatures.  He was and is the Father of creatures that He loves. He is Father before he is Almighty as we say every Sunday at Mass. I believe in “God the Father Almighty…  He is father before he is almighty.  He is a father who loves before He is a powerful master.

This was what Augustine and Tomas Aquinas taught: That God is a loving Father.  Then came the age of enlightenment, that separated the will and love of God from His intellect and reason. Reason became supreme.  The separation of will and intellect was such that the will was not guided by the intellect or love.  The will could be arbitrary. What the powerful wanted, they could do. Reason was separate from the will.  The will then was arbitrary. This was not the teaching of the Church. The teaching of the Church was that God’s will was guided by his intellect.  His intellect was guided by his love for his creatures. He is a father and not a slave owner. His will could not go against His reason for creating man. He is a father who loves man. We are children of a loving father not a slave owner who could be arbitrary. This was labeled “modernism.” (I always wondered what this modernism was to which the Church was so much against. Modernism is the separation of reason and will in which the will becomes arbitrary and not guided by principles.) The old way or the “via antiqua” taught that God is before all else is Father.  His will is not arbitrary but guided by His love for man.

Cradle Catholics often do not know their Scriptures. Their understanding of their faith has much to be desired.  It is true that we have the Sacrifice in the second part of the Mass but also need to know the intellectual basis for our faith in the Scriptures.  Dr. Hanh and the lecturers in You Tube: Deep in History and Coming Home have simple and compelling reasons for our faith. How I wish that all will listen to those lectures in You Tube. We may then be one faith in Christendom.

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