We all want to gain a better understanding of our Catholic Faith. I don’t think there’s one of us here who would say otherwise.
The more we learn the teachings from Catechism right down to Canon law and deeper still into some heavy academic studies, our closeness to God will multiply. At least this is the understanding many of us like to hold onto.
Lets propose the idea however that Catholic teaching and our desire to learn it is a distraction to deflect the real problem that resides deep inside us.
Could it be that we are more focused on understanding the teaching of the church as opposed to gaining a deeper knowledge of who we are?
I think learning the faith on a most basic level is great such as the ten commandments and the Sacraments. I am always a little nervous though when someone decides they want to dive in deeper than this. Suddenly I find myself wondering if this desire for academic study of theology serves as a distraction towards the real goal and authentic desire of first developing a relationship with God first.
It may seem incomprehensible to some reading this but learning theology without first developing a strong relationship with God and a spiritual ”awareness” of oneself and faults is a loaded gun just waiting to go off. To simplify it even further, without a metanoia, a true metanoia, not just ”feelings” and an ”emotional” drift towards Jesus but a really honest hot and teary conversion, theology is dynamite in the wrong hands.
It’s the reason why we have so many progressive theologians both clergy and laity high up in the church who have abdicated from the throne of truth and into the pit of bad theology.
I’ll break that down for you again so you can’t walk away from this post claiming to be confused. Two men and one knife in the room. One man sees the knife as a tool for cutting bread and giving it to the other man. The other man sees it as a weapon to steal some money to buy a loaf of bread.
It’s the same with theology and we view theology through the lens by how strong our relationship with God is. If the focus is not on God and ourselves we will use theology for bad and if the focus of our studies is a fruit ( not a foundation ) of our relationship with God who is always the primary focus of our studies, then we will use it for good and see it for as it really is.
It is very rare though to find that in a lay person who jumps at theology. I hate to say it because it makes me look like I’m a spiritual giant of which I’m not but I’ve been witness to many spoiled cradle Catholics who love the whole intellectual side of the church.
They enter their theological studies but their people skills and ability to forgive, meekness and humbleness isn’t there. And although they do adhere to correct theology, most often and sadly the devil gets involved (because they’re without the Grace necessary to handle it) and they end up becoming the religious police (Michael Voris for a popular example).
Therefore their study becomes a distraction developed and influenced by the devil to dissuade them from the true theology. Evagrius (an early church father) said ”He who prays truly, is a theologian, and he is a theologian who prays truly.”
Is he talking about devotional prayer? No, he’s talking about the prayer of transformation by which we totally transform and shed the skin of the worldly teaching we’ve absorbed from birth. Once we experience this true metanoia of change of heart we then become a burning, living prayer and even when we are not saying ”Lord Jesus Have mercy upon me, forgive me, help me,” we are still praying.
Our very way of being and life becomes an incense that rises into the nostrils of heaven that appeases God who reciprocates with Grace. When we have achieved this, then we can enter into theological study and it will bear more fruit.
But I always tell people not to bother and I’m always worried about the spiritual state and reasons of those who use it to escape from the real problem which is THEMSELVES. HAHAHAHAHAHA.