First off, I agree that faith is a gift of grace from God, and that no one, purely by their own effort, can make themselves believe in God. I don’t think anyone here would dispute you on that point. I certainly wouldn’t.
However, I would posit, and maybe you’d agree, that those who do not presently have supernatural faith but wish for it could say something along the lines of, “God, if you’re real, then please give me the gift of faith.” Since the Church has defined in the First Vatican Council that human reason can, unaided by Divine Revelation, establish the existence of God, then presumably you could have a situation where a person, because of their reasoning powers alone, entertains the idea of the possibility of God’s existence, is then given grace to be able to ask for supernatural faith, and consequently receives it. Thus it would seem that while God’s grace as mediated through human reason would be the initiatory step toward faith, the reception of faith required that the person freely ask for faith before receiving it from God. So, the reception of faith required both God’s gifts of grace and a free decision by a person.
If I love my wife, but cheat on her, am I being faithful?
I may indeed love my wife, and feel that strong emotional attachment to her, and yet indulge lust elsewhere (men will grant this proposition more easily than women due to innate gender differences I think).
Keeping faith with her requires doing as she would have me do rather than doing as I would do.
Likewise, keeping faith with God means doing His will, not ours. Luke 6:46 sums it up nicely.
No, faith is not feelings. Faith is what keeps you on heaven’s path NO MATTER HOW YOU FEEL AT THE TIME.
Loving someone is something you do, not something you feel.
Actually Love is something you feel and you do. This really sheds some light for me when it comes to legalism and Roman Catholicism. If you only Love because it’s something you have to do then I feel sorry for you. To me if you feel that way it takes the heart out of the equation. If you see a program showing starving kids in a third world country, are you inclined to send money because it’s something your told to do, our are you generally sorry for that child and (Heaven forbid) emotionally touched by their situation?.
If it’s a “feeling” then how pray tell are we supposed to “Love your enemy” as we’ve been commanded?
I Love my enemies because I understand that the only thing they are guilty of is the same thing I’m guilty of and thats “Sin”. There is not a single person that I don’t wish would come to know our Lord and spend eternity in Heaven with Him. The word Heart is mentioned in the Bible 760 plus times, sometimes it is used with thought and other times with emotion, you can’t have one without the other.
There are strong emotions that can be associated with your acts of love and the response you get to those actions from other people, but they are not the same thing.
Primarily, we are of course referring here to the “love” that is better termed “charity.”
Frankly I think equating love with an emotion is a primary contributor to the failure of so many relationships in our society and this is why I won’t simply concede the point.
[quote=] This really sheds some light for me when it comes to legalism and Roman Catholicism.
No once again you confirm your preconceived notion by appealing to a complete misunderstanding of the subject at hand.
[quote=]If you only Love because it’s something you have to do then I feel sorry for you. To me if you feel that way it takes the heart out of the equation. If you see a program showing starving kids in a third world country, are you inclined to send money because it’s something your told to do, our are you generally sorry for that child and (Heaven forbid) emotionally touched by their situation?.
Again a completely incorrect, uninformed and I might add insulting set of assumptions on your part.
(Just in case your wondering, the emotions that you’ve triggered in me vary back and forth from anger, disgust and pity, but “love” will allow the fact that you’ve made me angry be overcome and the emotion I’ll settle in on will likely be pity for you, but in any case, I’ll continue to do the loving thing and pray for you and all those who are similarly confused.)
[quote=]I Love my enemies because I understand that the only thing they are guilty of is the same thing I’m guilty of and that’s “Sin”.
Really? So somebody spits in your face and the first “emotion” you feel for them is “love”?
Perhaps you should test that out somehow I doubt this to be true.
[quote=]There is not a single person that I don’t wish would come to know our Lord and spend eternity in Heaven with Him.
Yeah! Something I can agree with you on. “I Love you man.” (Yes I’m after your Bud Light.)
[quote=] The word Heart is mentioned in the Bible 760 plus times, sometimes it is used with thought and other times with emotion, you can’t have one without the other.
Who said anything about not feeling emotion or using your heart? This would be another one of your projections of prejudice and preconceived notions upon someone else.
Just because I do not define “love” as and “emotion” does not mean that I do not feel things very deeply. But thank you much for treating me like an automaton, at least you’ve cleared up how you see Catholics in general and me in particular. But that’s about all you’ve demonstrated here.
If we follow these definitions then what Christ meant by:
“Love one another”
must have been.
“have warm fuzzy feelings about, take pleasure in and have lots of sex with one another.”
Somehow I don’t think the modern popular definition is the biblical one.
Similarly “faith” being an “emotion” makes no sense in the biblical context either.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This lovehttp://cache.lexico.com/g/d/premium.gifhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngcache.lexico.com/g/d/speaker.gif/lʌv/Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciationluhv]Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation*noun, verb, ***loved, lov·ing. ***–noun *1.a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. 2.a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. 3.sexual passion or desire. 4.a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart. 5.(used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): *Would you like to see a movie, love? *6.a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour. 7.sexual intercourse; copulation. 8.(initial capital letterhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.png) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid. 9.affectionate concern for the well-being of others: *the love of one’s neighbor. *10.strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: *her love of books. *11.the object or thing so liked: *The theater was her great love. *12.the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God. 13.Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing. 14.a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L. *–verb (used with object) *15.to have love or affection for: *All her pupils love her. *16.to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person). 17.to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: *to love music. *18.to need or require; benefit greatly from: *Plants love sunlight. *19.to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover. 20.to have sexual intercourse with. *–verb (used without object) *21.to have love or affection for another person; be in love. —Verb phrase 22.**love up, **to hug and cuddle: *She loves him up every chance she gets. *—Idioms 23.**for love, **a.out of affection or liking; for pleasure. b.without compensation; gratuitously: *He took care of the poor for love. *24.**for the love of, **in consideration of; for the sake of: *For the love of mercy, stop that noise. *25.**in love, **infused with or feeling deep affection or passion: *a youth always in love. *26.**in love with, **feeling deep affection or passion for (a person, idea, occupation, etc.); enamored of: *in love with the girl next door; in love with one’s work. *27.**make love, **a.to embrace and kiss as lovers. b.to engage in sexual activity. 28.**no love lost, **dislike; animosity: *There was no love lost between the two brothers. *
[Origin: bef. 900; (n.) ME; OE *lufu, c. OFris luve, OHG luba, Goth lubō; (v.) ME lov(i)en, OE lufian; c. OFris luvia, OHG lubōn to love, L lubére (later libére) to be pleasing; akin to liefhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.png]
I never heard of the idea that faith = Feelings until I started talking with some Mormon missionaries. Every time I’d make a point or ask a difficult question, the mormons would reply, “Pray about the book of Mormon and see how you FEEL about it.”
What if 10 people from 10 different religions prayed for feelings to confirm their beliefs and felt different answers? Would we attribute their different answers to God’s inspiration or would we say that they didn’t do it with enough sincerity?
I never doubted your good intentions, dear SM, but I thought the topic a good one, and didn’t want to take the other thread off topic. I sincerely apologize for making you feel I was singling you out for reprove. That was not my intent. Please forgive me. :o Mea Culpa!
Exactly, an important point. The romantic, soap opera idea of “love” (you hear it all the time in films, TV, and pop music: “You can’t help who you love.”) is simply an assumption of our popular culture, which many Christians (including Nondenom, apparently) have absorbed. It does not come from Scripture, nor from the historic teachings of the Christian Church. From where, then, are people getting this assumption? From Oprah, General Hospital, romance novels, and their local radio station. In short, they’re absorbing it from the popular media, rather than from uniquely Christian theological sources, such as Scripture and the Church’s teaching Tradition.
As you point out, the confusion of “love” with “romance” has had deadly consequences for marriage in our day. We hear it all the time: “I just don’t love her any more!” (Of course, by this he means, “I just don’t experience romantic *feelings *for her any more!”) And so, divorce seems inevitable. However, the answer to such a statement might well be, “Then you need to start loving her right now!” In other words, “Commit yourself to serving your wife above yourself.” Feelings come and go, but love----genuine Christian love----remains steadfast.
When my wife and I were married, we didn’t vow before God and man to “Always have warm fuzzy feelings for one another until death.” That’s ridiculous, and anyone who’s been married for more than eleven minutes knows the unrealistic expectations involved in such an assumption. No, we vowed to “love, honor, and cherish one another,” all of which are objective concepts rather than emotional sentiments. We vowed to “forsake all others,” to commit to one another exclusively. We did not make the inevitably false promise to constantly maintain romantic, teen-age fantasy feelings for one another 24/7. You can’t promise to feel a particular emotion (or set of emotions) at any specific time; that’s just not how emotions operate. But you can vow to *do *certain things, to act in ways which place your spouse above yourself, to act in her best interest and to commit yourself to her highest good. This is the essence of Christian love, and it in no way depends upon, nor should it be equated with, one’s emotions.
Forgive me, but the “legalism” you mention is simply a bare assumption on your part. In reality, Catholics, as a group, are no more legalistic than any other Christian subculture, and are actually less so than most. In Catholic thought, the idea of “faith” is inseparably connected with the call to obedience (“faithfulness”). In Biblical Greek, the two words derive from the same basic root term. Now, it’s clear that obedience to God does not in any way depend upon one’s emotions. We are expected to follow God’s commands and to do his will whether we feel like it or not. It’s hardly an acceptable excuse to say, “Sorry, God, I just wasn’t feeling very obedient at the moment!” It’s great when we feel it, but what about when we don’t? Well, as Christians, we do God’s will anyway. This, in itself, demonstrates plainly that faith is not a feeling, nor does it depend upon one’s emotions at any given moment.
Likewise with the concept of “love.” We’re commanded by God to love both Him and our neighbor. Will we always feel like it? Nope. And, again, this shows that love is not itself an emotion, nor does it depend on our feelings. The “love=feelings” idea is simply an assumptuion drawn from our popular romantic culture, and is not a genuine Christian doctrine.
You may want to re-read Posts 9, 14, and 28 above.
Answering the subject line…feelings and emotion may come as a result of a variety of things, but cannot ultimately be used to conclude whether or not one is experiencing the true faith. Scripture contrasts faith against feelings many times.
Jude 1:18-20 (contrasting following ones feelings with faith) They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor 5:7 (contrasting faith with the senses which largely influence feelings…look how in this thread someone “observed” that the Catholic mass is “lifeless”) For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
Also there’s a good sermon by John Henry Newman here. Summed up fairly well by: Such emotion, however, is not the essence of true faith, though it accidentally accompanies it.
I think you may enjoy reading this document from the Vatican which I wholeheartedly agree with.
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY
OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
Friday, 10 February 2006
*Your Eminences, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Presbyterate, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Faith has a fundamental importance in the life of the Church, because the gift that God makes of himself in Revelation is fundamental and God’s gift of himself is accepted through faith.
Here the importance of your Congregation comes to the fore. Through its service to the whole Church and to the Bishops in particular, as teachers of the faith and pastors, it is precisely called in a spirit of collegiality to encourage and to recall the centrality of the Catholic faith in its authentic expression.
Whenever, moreover, the perception of this centrality weakens, the fabric of ecclesial life loses its original brightness and wears thin: it degenerates into sterile activism or is reduced to political expediency with a worldly flavour.
If, instead, the truth of the faith is placed simply and decisively at the heart of Christian existence, human life is innovated and revived by a love that knows no rest or bounds, as I also had the opportunity to recall in my recent Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est.
Charity, like love that renews all things, moves from God’s Heart to the Heart of Jesus Christ, and through his Spirit across the world. This love is born from the encounter with Christ in faith: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Deus caritas est, n. 1).
Jesus Christ is the Personified Truth who attracts the world to himself. The light that shines out from Jesus is the splendour of the truth. Every other truth is a fragment of the Truth that he is, and refers to him.
Jesus is the Pole Star of human freedom: without him it loses its sense of direction, for without the knowledge of the truth, freedom degenerates, becomes isolated and is reduced to sterile arbitration. With him, freedom is rediscovered, it is recognized to have been created for our good and is expressed in charitable actions and behaviour.
Therefore, Jesus gives men and women total familiarity with the truth and continuously invites them to live in it. It is truth offered as a reality that restores the human being and at the same time surpasses him and towers above him, as a Mystery that embraces and at the same time exceeds the impulse of his intelligence.
And nothing succeeds as well as love for the truth in impelling the human mind towards unexplored horizons. Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of the truth, draws to himself the heart of each person, enlarges it and fills it with joy. Indeed, truth alone can take possession of the mind and make it rejoice to the full.
It is this joy that increases the dimensions of the human heart, lifting it anew from the narrowness of selfishness and rendering it capable of authentic love. It is the experience of this joy that moves and attracts the human person to free adoration, not to servile prostration but to bow with heartfelt respect before the Truth he has encountered.
Thus, service to the faith, which is a witness to the One who is the entire Truth, is also a service to joy, and this is the joy that Christ desires to spread in the world: it is the joy of faith in him, of truth that is communicated through him, of salvation that comes from him! It is this joy we feel in our hearts when we kneel with faith to worship Jesus!
This love for truth also inspires and directs the Christian approach to the contemporary world and the evangelizing commitment of the Church, topics which you have taken time to discuss at your Plenary Assembly.
The Church welcomes with joy the authentic breakthroughs of human knowledge and recognizes that evangelization also demands a proper grasp of the horizons and the challenges that modern knowledge is unfolding. In fact, the great progress of scientific knowledge that we saw during the last century has helped us understand the mystery of creation better and has profoundly marked the awareness of all peoples.
It seems to me that people are being excessively semantic and twisting the meaning of ‘emotion’ and ‘feelings’ all out of shape out of a concern that to say faith is felt like an emotion, rather known like a fact, is to say that each person gets to pick his own truth. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that.
To say that Faith, Hope, and Love are not emotions… I have just never heard that before. What is wrong with emotions? Faith is not acceding to the Church’s teachings, that is obedience. Faith is something deeper that is more like emotion than it is like logic.
I agree that the mind cannot be forced to believe and that you cannot will yourself to have faith. Faith is a gift. To me it seems more emotional than intellectual. If the word “emotion” is offensive somehow, well I guess we will have to make up a new word, but it won’t change the nature of Faith.
It is a direct reaction to evangelical/charismatic Christian claims that if one does not feel something one is not saved. That is a pernicious lie which writes out of salvation the 20% of the population or so which fall into Kiersey’s “NT - Rational” temperament category, as well as those who over the course of their lives experience spirtitual dryness.
It is a lie which has caused a great deal of pain in the communities which evince to so believe for those who show insufficient fire or even shyness tend to get shunned by those who claim to be “on fire for the Lord”.
No, “loving” is something you do.
There are strong emotions that can be associated with your acts of love and the response you get to those actions from other people, but they are not the same thing.
I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one
Primarily, we are of course referring here to the “love” that is better termed "charity."Frankly I think equating love with an emotion is a primary contributor to the failure of so many relationships in our society
There are so many things that contribute to the failure of relationships like selfishness, drugs, alcohol, lack of dedication, etc.
and this is why I won’t simply concede the point.
Truth does not need for you to concede for it to be truth.
Again a completely incorrect, uninformed and I might add insulting set of assumptions on your part.(
As I stated in my post, I wasn’t trying to make anyone mad.
Just in case your wondering, the emotions that you’ve triggered in me vary back and forth from anger, disgust and pity, but “love” will allow the fact that you’ve made me angry be overcome and the emotion I’ll settle in on will likely be pity for you,
Funny, I feel pity for your lack of emotion and lack understanding when it comes to love.
but in any case, I’ll continue to do the loving thing and pray for you and all those who are similarly confused.)