The 4th chapter of the Catechism talks about 'THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH’ - faith being the human response to God’s revelation. The ultimate goal of faith is Eternal Life with God in Heaven – that is the destination that gives meaning to our believing and all our striving.
To obey means first of all to listen attentively to what God is saying and then to do what God has said. Obedience is not just about doing what we're told but it is first of all about listening. In the Bible the most commonly used word is the name of God in its various forms and the next most commonly used word is to “listen” – listening to the voice of God, believing what He is saying and being willing to be taught, willing to learn. Faith is about paying attention to God, paying attention to what we are doing in life, paying attention to how we are living.
I'm not the most faithful of environmentalists but a few years ago – on the advice of government – I decided to drive a diesel rather than a petrol car. I loved my red Yaris and was happy to be doing my bit for cleaner air. Unfortunately, the government decided later that diesel was worse that petrol.
On my way one Saturday morning to celebrate the baptism of a friend's baby I stopped at a "petrol" station and became distracted by a man who was looking for directions so I tried to help him while at the same time filling up my car! I drove off. Celebrated the Baptism. Went to the party and on my way home my red Yaris started to shudder and came to an abrupt stop in the middle of a busy road. A couple of hours later the rescue truck arrived and, when they guy checked the car, he told me I had filled it up with petrol. I was stunned that I could have been so stupid, so unaware of what I had been doing. Distracted living is not the best of ideas but we do it so often!
The experience is a bit of a parable about life and faith! First of all, we need to pay attention to what we are doing and then, just as we need to put the right fuel into our car so we need to put the right spiritual fuel into our souls for them to function properly, to prevent our soul from breaking down altogether. What is happening to a lot of people now with regard to their spiritual life is that they are inadvertently putting the wrong spiritual fuel into their souls – it’s not deliberate but it has the same effect.
And so we need to look at what we are feeding our souls with - the information, the ideas, opinions that influence our lives. Much of the information we are receiving in public life is designed to weaken and even destroy faith rather than to strengthen it. So we have to make clear and deliberate choices and the basic choice for us centres on the person of Jesus Christ.
Eamonn Monson sac