Objective truth series Reflection #15
Our reason is such a wonderful faculty given to us by God. By our reason we come to the knowledge of truth as we discussed in the last Reflection. In this Reflection we intend to consider the moral obligation we have to use our reason, and to see how by using our reason and the light of our Faith, God directs and protects our souls.
One way we can learn about our moral obligation to use our reason is by looking at the Principal and Foundation from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God, Our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. All other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him fulfill the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man is to use these things to the extent that they will help him to attain his end. Likewise, he must rid himself of them in so far as they prevent him from attaining it [viz., his end].
Our Lady teaches us through St. Ignatius how crucial it is for man to use his reason to make the proper distinctions between what creatures are good for man – which help him attain his end – and what creatures are harmful to man in attaining his end.
God expects us to use our reason because He created us rational. For Our Lord says, “… some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundred-fold. Saying these things, He cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” St. Luke’s Gospel, 8:8.
We know we are obliged in conscience to use our reason. In fact, when we use our reason, we can know God’s Will for us. One example of this is that the errors of our times become self-evident.
It is almost as if God rewards us for using our reason. Nevertheless, it is His Will that we use our reason. We should value the fact that God made us with the use of reason. God intends that we perfect our intellects by learning more and more about Him and His wonderful creation.
Consequently, we are properly humbled when we learn more because we see how very small we are compared to God, His creation, and particularly His holy angels. We begin to count knowledge as a blessing which we are so unworthy to have. How great God is! We know that we are so blessed to have the truth!
In our times of great apostasy, seeing reality is a precious blessing. Many souls do not see the obvious. As Our Lady of Fatima said, “Many souls are going to hell because they have no one to pray for them.” Hence, we can see that truth is a gift from God and He is not obliged to give it to us.
As we said in the previous Reflection, “Truth is the mind’s conformity to reality.” What is the highest reality man can know? It is in the realm of theology and knowing about God Himself. Where can we discover this knowledge about God? Of course, the answer is from our Holy Catholic Faith. In our Baptism we received this priceless treasure – our Faith. With our Faith, we must be vessels of truth. We must be apostles of truth in this pagan world. We would not want to trade the Faith or any of the truth we hold, for anything in the world! We cannot thank God enough for the Faith and the truth!
The following words of Our Lord are so consoling, “And you shall know the truth: and the truth shall make you free.” St. John’s Gospel, 8:32. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me.” St. John’s Gospel, 14:6.
And as we know from what Our Lord told us, “For many are called, but few are chosen”, and “How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!”, that Our Lord is telling us strongly how few is the number of the elect. Therefore, to save our souls is a tremendous blessing and gift of God. We know we must pray fervently to God to beg Him to allow us to be in the number of the Elect.
We cannot presume that we will be in the number of the Elect. Yet, God wants us to remember through the virtue of hope, that He will not abandon us if we do not abandon Him. Hence, we must pray earnestly to Him to help us never give up through proud despair.
We can easily conclude that when we simply ponder the fact that we do not deserve the gift of Faith, we see that God is lovingly protecting us in these times of dark apostasy. All the more should we want to use our reason to the best of our abilities, cling to our God-given Faith, and pray for the gift of final perseverance. But in addition to these, we should desire to stand up for the Faith and spread the Faith, remembering also Our Lord’s words, “And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. St. Matthew’s Gospel. 25:30. Remembering also that Our Lord says, “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required”, we would certainly want to show God our sincerest gratitude for the blessing of the use of our reason, and the tremendous gift of the Faith. We really cannot thank God enough for these exquisite blessings. Knowing that words cannot go far enough to express our gratitude, we might try, with something like the following:
Our use of reason, oh what joy!
God wants us, this tool, to employ.
Deeper and richer truths to know,
Can our intellect perfect grow.
Created our we, our souls to save,
For this end, our reason God gave.
Countless benefits by good use,
And evil snares, we can deduce.
In these dark times, in which we live,
Grateful to God, that He doth give,
A way to see, more what He wills,
Thinking clearly, this improves skills.
Sadly, so few, try to inspect,
Deeply into, any subject,
They, at the surface, content stay,
With the flow of the breeze, they sway.
Thanks be to God, we know not to
Do the things that, the worldlings do,
Much farther we search and can see,
How God does not, want us to be.
Caught up in, the world’s silly mess,
Making little things, our distress,
But to have, an eternal view,
Our souls are of the most value!
With reason, by Faith, perfected,
And praying to be elected,
We can know that our gifts are rare,
Of God, others seem, not to care.
We cannot give God enough thanks,
To be counted in the Faith’s ranks,
Undeserved are these, many gifts,
By which our soul, up to God, lifts.
Let us pour out our hearts and souls,
Praise God for giving us true goals,
Thankful for all the benefits,
Of our Catholic Faith and wits.