We’ll start another three-sections today with the heading “The dialogue between faith and reason.” This should be interesting, so let’s read:
32. Christian faith, inasmuch as it proclaims the truth of God’s total love and opens us to the power of that love, penetrates to the core of our human experience. Each of us comes to the light because of love, and each of us is called to love in order to remain in the light. Desirous of illumining all reality with the love of God made manifest in Jesus, and seeking to love others with that same love, the first Christians found in the Greek world, with its thirst for truth, an ideal partner in dialogue. The encounter of the Gospel message with the philosophical culture of the ancient world proved a decisive step in the evangelization of all peoples, and stimulated a fruitful interaction between faith and reason which has continued down the centuries to our own times. Blessed John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio, showed how faith and reason each strengthen the other.[Fides et Ratio 73] Once we discover the full light of Christ’s love, we realize that each of the loves in our own lives had always contained a ray of that light, and we understand its ultimate destination. That fact that our human loves contain that ray of light also helps us to see how all love is meant to share in the complete self-gift of the Son of God for our sake. In this circular movement, the light of faith illumines all our human relationships, which can then be lived in union with the gentle love of Christ.
As an intellectual person, I feel a certain caution about emphasizing “reason” too much. The modern West is too much into rationalizing every possible aspect of existence, from the scientific viewpoint to punditry on the latest celebrity goings-on.
That said, it is indeed true that authentic Christian faith is compatible with a penetration into every aspect of our lives. Faith illuminates our experiences, and our life experiences are the place where God will speak to us. If we listen.