Faith and Reason! How easily Claret sees it! Reading this text brings to mind the beginning of the Encyclical of the St John Paul II ‘Fides et Ratio’ (14th September 1998):
“Faith and reason are like two wings with which the human spirit soars to the contemplation of the Truth. God has put at the heart of man the desire to know the truth and, definitively by knowing it of Him, knowing him and loving him, he can reach also the full truth about himself”. So a vital relationship is established between faith and intelligence: It is necessary to believe, if you want to perceive the mystery which inhabits us and transcends us; and it is necessary to understand that faith is reasonable and mature.
Mature faith draws on intelligence, engaging it, according to an expression of St. Anselm (XIc), in the “search for what it loves” (FeR, 42). So, faith, as well as being “reasonable”, becomes “reasoning”. This is the task that concerns theology: to collect the data of revelation and reflect on its coherence and harmony, on its – even elementary – rationality, and, from this, respond to the new challenges posed by culture and history.
Throughout history, many different sorts of relationship have been attributed between faith and reason, ranging from confrontation to dialogue, to cooperation, passing through the total independence and radical disparity, and even mutual contempt.
How difficult is to talk about the relationship between faith and reason, in a culture of religious indifference, secularisation or non- belief, that places reason above all things. A culture which admits to a total relativity and does not count on ‘the truth’, or, all the more, with my own truth, although I do not myself believe much of it…
Jesus of Nazareth said: “I am the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14.6). Am I looking for the Truth or am I content with my small truth, with which “I am getting by…”?