“Love of God… is the essential principle of the spiritual life; without it everything else is useless. But man is a rational being; one cannot love the unknown. So knowledge must precede love. And if that love is going to mean a complete abandonment of one’s own self, a losing of one’s own life, to find a new self, a new life – to find one’s all, in fact, in membership of Christ, it is still more urgent to have a sure and certain knowledge of Christ and his love. But in this world, the only way one can know God supernaturally is by faith. Reason can give us a certain, but natural, knowledge of his existence and of some of his attributes; but faith alone can tell us of the wonders of his love and his plans for us. Faith alone can put us in vital contact with him, for when we believe in God, we share his knowledge, we lean on him, and draw our strength from him… The Church insists that reason authorizes faith, and so far from asking us to deny our reason, she teaches that faith insists on being founded on reason. Once, however, the reasonableness of believing our authority is established, that authority may ask us to go beyond our reason, but never to go against it… “Faith,” as Prat points out, “is not a pure intuition, a mystical tendency towards an object more suspected than known; it presupposes preaching; it is the yielding of the mind to divine testimony. Faith is opposed to sight, both as regards the object known and the manner of knowing; one is immediate and intuitive, the other takes place through an intermediate agent. Nevertheless, faith is not blind: it is ready to give a reason for itself and aspires always to more clearness.”
Dom M. Eugene Boylan, O.C.S.O.
Dom Boylan (+1963) was a monk of the Cistercian Abbey of Mount Saint Joseph, Roscrea, Ireland