Revelation and Faith
God seeks you â€“ which is why he has chosen to â€œmain fest and communicative both himself and eternal decrees of his will concerning the salvation of mankind â€œ(Revelation 6:1). In revealing; God has not only communicated information; he has communicated himself to you.
Your personal response to Godâ€™s communication of himself and his will is called faith. â€œBy faith man freely commits his entire self to God making â€˜the full submission of the intellect and will to God who reveals,â€™ and willingly assenting to the revelation given by himâ€ (Revelation 5:1).
The basic doctrines, or dogmas, of the Church are the verbal expressions of what god has revealed to us about our relationship with him. The key characteristic of the Church dogmas is that they agree with sacred scripture. These teachings spell out of the unchangeable content of revelation, translating into the changeable thought – forms and languages of people in every new era and culture. A dogma is a statement of truth, a formulation of some aspect of the faith. The purpose of each dogma is to bring Jesus Christ to our attention from a particular point of view. As a coherent set of teachings, Church dogma is a faithful interpretation of Godâ€™s self-communication to humankind.
Faith and Doubt
The Churchâ€™s dogmatic formulas however, are not the same thing as godâ€™s self revelation; they are the medium, through which Catholics place their faith in God. God unveils and communicates the hidden mystery of himself through Church teaching. The teachings are like sacraments through which you received God. Through the medium of doctrinal formulas you reach God himself in the personal act of faith.
The life of faith is very personal and delicate â€“ and ultimately mysterious. Faith is gift of god and only God knows who has it. We can, however, presume that God is generous with his gift, and we should not presume that anyone lacks it.
A person can lack genuine faith through his or her own fault; we are free â€“ even to reject God. But when a person â€œdoubts,â€ we should not jump to conclusions. For example, there are people who remember their father only as a man who inflicted pain on them. As a result, these people cannot bring themselves to believe in God as their â€œgood Fatherâ€. This is not a lack of faith. It is a lack of memory images cannot block out all forms in which people perceive and express God, who seeks us constantly, seeks us until we fin him.
A person who is seeking deeper insight into reality may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate a lack of faith. They may be just the opposite â€“ a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive a nd dynamic, It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. If a particular doctrine of faith no longer â€œmakes senseâ€ to a person, the person should go right on seeking. To know what a doctrine says in one thing. To gain an insight into its meaning through the gift of understanding is something else. When in doubt, â€œSeek and you will find.â€ The person who seeks by reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees light. The person who talks to God even when God is â€œnot thereâ€ is alive with faith.