Devotional Blogs, II


I've been thinking about the topic of Catholic devotional blogs and one question that comes to mind is, just what is a devotional blog? One reason the question arises is the difference between the blogs nominated in that category in this year's Catholic Blog Awards.

I suppose a piece of devotional writing is meant to inspire and encourage us in our faith, and all the blogs nominated certainly do that. Then I got to thinking about faith.

The Catechism has this to say in paragraph 158:

"Faith seeks understanding": it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts" to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the center of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood." In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe."

Many people think that faith is opposed to reason, or at least independent of reason. After all, faith is the acceptance of something we can't "know" with certainty is true. When I say we can't know that faith is true, I mean our understanding of God's plan of salvation is based on the fact that our knowledge of that plan comes from a highly reliable source. It is not something we can go into a lab to prove, or send a spacecraft out into the universe to measure. We can know that there is a God just by examining the world around us, but we can't know that he is infinite, eternal, all Good and that he sent His Son to die for us on the cross except that He tells us so -- and we take Him at His Word.

So faith is a virtue, a habitus, because it is, at bottom something we do. It is an active thing, not a passive thing; it seeks understanding. Yet, it can never achieve understanding. Faith can only take us so far, then grace must take over; this same idea, by the way, is true of all the virtues, we have to do our part so that we can be open to the grace that proceeds from the Holy Spirit. And the more we are open to the Spirit, the more we wish to learn, the more we grow in that virtue, whether faith, or prudence or hope or charity.

I guess it could be said that knowledge is the foundation of our interior lives; it is devotional. After all, if we are to seek the Kingdom of God, we should have a decent idea of exactly what the Kingdom of God is. I remember a press conference during the siege at Waco when officials were discussing David Koresh’s obsession with the book of Revelation. When he asked for questions at the end of his brief, one of the first ones asked was, “Where exactly do we find this book of Revelation?” Now, that is ignorance of faith; it also shows an absence of devotion in that reporter's life.

Perhaps, then, there is a sense in which every Catholic blog could or should be a devotional blog. Certainly every Catholic blog should be an attempt to offer a reason why we believe as we do. In doing so, they can help others grow in both knowledge and faith. Who knows, we might even reach people in our secular culture who had never previously considered the idea that there might be a God, much less that it makes sense to believe in Him.

The possibilities are endless, no eternal.

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This page contains a single entry by Ron Moffat published on February 23, 2006 6:05 AM.

Devotional Blogs was the previous entry in this blog.

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