The Doctrine of Truth, humbling words from the Imitation of Christ

Christ's priest, the priest is not his own, he is Christ'sI’ve been working on my novel, well, perhaps “working” is a bit misleading. I’ve been thinking about it and gathering ideas and notes, at least. Been reading lots too. Theology, trying to deepen my understanding of how Christianity works, what things mean, how to explain things, how to enter into the Mystery in a deeper way, how to deepen my interior life. And working on some posts for my blogs Some for elsewhere. Everybody else at this other blog seems to have a background in theology and/or philosophy. Then there’s me…Oy. I feel singularly not up to the task of arguing abstruse points of theology and philosophy with anybody. (This is not to say that people who approach the faith differently do so with less devotion. It’s just that my approach to the faith is different, though, of course, I do spend much time studying. But for me, all my studying can take away from the central thing, the heart of the matter. I need to focus even more on the inner side of things. I also need to get back to attending Daily Mass and saying my rosary faithfully. And the daily recitation of the Divine Office. How my interior life has slipped!)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been reading (and listening to an audio book of) the Imitation of Christ. So I get to chapter 3, The Doctrine of Truth, and what do I read?

1. Happy is he whom Truth teacheth by iitself, not by figures and words that pass, but as it is in itself. —PS XVII 46; IS XXVIII 26.

What availeth a great dispute about abstruse and obscure matters for not knowing which we shall not be questioned at the day of judgment?

It is a great folly for us to neglect things profitable and necessary, and willingly busy ourselves about those which are curious and hurtful. We have eyes and see not. —PS CXV 5.

2. And why need we concern ourselves about terms of philosophy?

He to whom the eternal Word speaketh is set at liberty from a multitude of opinions.

…I am wearied with often reading and hearing many things; in thee is all that I will or desire.

Let all teachers hold their peace; let all creatures be silent in thy sight; speak thou alone to me.

3. The more a man is united within himself and interiorly simple, the more and higher things doth he understand without labor; because he receiveth the light of understanding from above.

Now for us to try to understand things intellectually is natural and good. Even necessary. But it’s not enough, it’s just not enough. I have a natural tendency to think about religion, to talk about it, to write about it, to ponder it. But religion is not something to dissect intellectually, or not primarily so. Religion is to be lived. Christianity is not a set of propositions to be believed intellectually and left at that. Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and Christianity, the following this Way Who is Christ, is The Way. So every time I get caught up in thinking about Christianity, He sends me a message (sometimes in the form of a conversation or a book, or a two-by-four, ow!) that moves my heart and stops the incessant chatter in my mind and brings me to my knees before His Beauty.

After all, is Beauty to be understood? Talked about merely? And this Beauty Who is the Source of all beauty, this Truth Who is the source of all truth, this Good Who is the source of all goodness, is He to be reduced to words and thoughts and beliefs and systems and philosophies and anything at all? Is He not to be loved, He Who is the source of all love?

So I’m not going to try to write about our beautiful faith in a way that is beyond my ability, and if not beyond, then, at least, other than my natural way. I’m going to try to write in a way that expresses my love for Christ and His Way. This means I am going to have to tend to my interior life more seriously than I have been. And that will be a good thing. A very good thing, indeed.

Thanks for reading. May the peace of Christ be with you, whoever you are, wherever you are. Pax!

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