February 13, 2013
Faith language lessons
By Jason Godin *

By Jason Godin *

Lent begins this week by recalling remembrance of our origin – dust – and earthly outcome – a return to dust. The weeks after Ash Wednesday invite Christians to conduct an inner inventory, to note in silence the words said and left unsaid, and to sense in stillness a world filled with words increasingly in service to worldly concerns alone. As the Year of Faith continues, Lent seems an appropriate season to appreciate how the language of faith reveals some healthy heights and tender depths. 

Boundaries with Purpose

Some people in the modern world refuse to entertain one faith language lesson: boundaries serve a purpose. Libertines, for example, find the purpose of life is to live without any limits. Statements today about absolute truth underwriting authentic freedom face stern replies of how respecting limits is to reject certain “rights” or, worse, surrender to silly superstitions. 

The eyes of faith, however, aren’t blind to the purpose of borders. True wisdom speaks truthfully when it admits that humanity doesn’t know it all. Human language about God is limited because human knowledge of God is limited (cf. CCC, 40). The language of faith helps nourish open debate by admitting what we know now and, importantly, what we could and should know tomorrow. Finite expressions of language never shrink the horizons of knowledge and language. When expressed in faith, they expand its borders closer toward the “infinite simplicity” of God (CCC, 43).

Renewal in Purity

Another faith language lesson relates renewal and purity. The Church admits that “human words always fall short of the mystery of God”. The challenge before the people of God, consequently, is to “continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God” with “our human representations” (CCC, 42).

Such purified, renewed language nourishes the public square. Faith expresses more than simple “spirituality” marginalized to private worship. Hope finds its object in the Real Presence at Mass, not in earthly promises of utopia for the masses. Love becomes charity with humility, unity with diversity, and fraternity that respects the dignity of all human life. Patriotism also never yields to expressions of an ugly nationalism, but searches for tranquility as responsible partners in global society. 

Every year large corporations pay millions of dollars for mere seconds to flash images, amplify sounds, and maybe even say a few words on television. Online social media constantly collect user data hoping to pinpoint present demands and anticipate future wants. How many companies have profited handsomely by convincing, with just a short Super Bowl commercial, that a good or service will supply and satisfy our specific likes?

The Church has not only taught but lived lessons of language millennia before computers and coaches hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Jesus instituted the Eucharist when he lifted wine as well as bread in his name at the Last Supper (cf. Luke 22:14-20). He proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The language of faith since that Holy Thursday, as limited and as in constant need of renewal as it is, still leads us to a closer relationship with the Living Word (cf. John 1:14). 

And that is the faith language lesson worth sharing with others most of all.

Jason Godin teaches United States history at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. You can find him on Facebook here.

« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: