June 18, 2012
A serious faith asks questions and seeks answers. A person of faith wants to live their faith and, in order to live it, he or she must first know it. While faith is more than an intellectual knowing, faith is not blind.
A person who bases their life on the belief that eternal life comes from faith in Jesus Christ who died so that we might live would surely want to explore that truth in depth. By analogy, a man's marriage would not long survive if all he knows about his wife is that she is from Manitoba, plays the trumpet and reads detective stories. If this really is love, one might have a few more questions.
So it is with the Catholic faith. It is a surprise that there are not long lineups at the doors of Newman Theological College of Catholics seeking to deepen their knowledge of the faith. Sure, there are other ways to learn about your faith than by formal studies. As well, some people find the prospect of taking a university-level course frightening.
However, if one is serious about his or her faith, one will want to understand that faith in greater depth, to, for example, probe the meaning of the Gospels that they hear every Sunday.
There was a time not long ago when people took their faith for granted. It was part of the air we breathed. Today, not so. Religious belief and church attendance are now the exception rather than the norm. To be a practising Catholic today means having made a decision. A faith that has not questioned itself is a relic of the past.
The questioning of a person of faith, however, is not a questioning that leads to doubt, but rather grows out of love and seeks to deepen that love. It is a questioning that wonders about this great, mysterious Being that he or she has come to love and that wants to know more about this person.
Newman College exists to prepare seminarians for the priesthood, to train lay people, including teachers, for ministry in the Church and to educate future theologians. It doesn't stop there. It offers programs geared to people in love with God and who want to deepen that love.
Having a local theological college is an enormous gift to and opportunity for the faithful Catholics in this archdiocese. No other similar institution exists west of London, Ont.
In this era, when the Christian faith in Canada is being challenged as never before, we should treasure Newman College. We should support it with our dollars, but more importantly we should use its resources to strengthen our faith.
St. Anselm said theology is faith seeking understanding. By that token, every serious Catholic should be a theologian. Every serious Catholic should give consideration to taking some of the many courses on offer at Newman Theological College (www.newman.edu or 780-392-2450).
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