I’ve come across the same passage from Corinthians several times, first in the book “The Cloister Walk” and then at mass. It speaks to God’s dismissing the importance of knowledge, learning and wisdom and lifting up instead “faith,” a virtue which defies logic. A message that’s incredibly impactful and relevant to me at this stage in my life…
1 Corinthians 1:21 “For since in the wisdom of God, the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.”
This theme has come up again and again for me. Our priest discussed how in another passage Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, distances himself from the learned academics who came to convince and sway the people (which very much reminds me of politicians).
He asks the people instead not to believe him because he is most convincing but to instead, to take a moment, listen to their hearts and believe him if their hearts tell them they are called to what he is saying: the good news, “the way.” As my heart has said to me…
There is also another biblical passage where Jesus praises the child-like over the learned:
“At that time, the disciples approached Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child over and placed it in their midst and said ‘Amen, I say to you unless, you turn and become like children — you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven…'” Matthew 18:1-3
And I love these two quotes from St. Augustine:
- “If you understand it, it is not God.”
- “Do not seek to understand in order to believe, but seek to believe that you may understand.”
Faith versus wisdom.
This is a HUGE paradox I have experienced since my calling to Catholicism. I’d always rejected religion on the premise of logic. How could people really believe all this craziness to be true and fall prey to the many preachers and evangelists out there, believing whatever was said to them? It defied logic, so it couldn’t be.
And when I look at myself now, attending mass as much as possible, reorienting my life toward prayer and holy reading, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, guiding my family on the path toward holiness, I can NOT believe it. It defies logic.
I often stop and say to myself “What is going on here? What has happened to me? This is not the person I thought myself to be. How am I overcoming my past objections? This makes no sense.” And indeed it doesn’t, and that is just the point.
I have to follow my heart. My heart has been called and it feels so right and so good and so full of complete and utter joy; I cannot question it. It MUST be right no matter what my logical mind says.
Every step I have taken since feels divinely inspired and I see reminders and signs constantly that I am on the right path.
It makes no sense, but it doesn’t have to. I am guided by faith; knowledge was just in the way…