Faith and mystery or mystagogy

When it is said that a thing can only be understood through faith such as, well the trinity for example. Is that faith the faith received at baptism and regained by absolution? Or is that a “common” kind of faith that is acquired by one’s own means and it is not a gift of faith?


That’s really not Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church teaches “Fides et Ratio” (Faith and Reason.)

Maybe the footnotes on Hebrews 11 may help:

Faith is not only our souls innately and “instinctively” reaching for something supernatural in hope, and discovering evidence thereof, but it’s also an act of will to decide to trust in God.

Sometimes faith comes naturally to a person before Baptism (RCIA), and at other times, before or after Baptism, there is a struggle to believe.

A good simile is, “Faith is like a muscle: exercise it and it will grow!” We all have muscles, although we are all built with different physiques. You may naturally have more muscle mass than I have.

I second the clarification by Ignatius. I would add this, which applies to the second part of your question:

Faith is one of the three theological virtues bestowed at Baptism (the other two are hope and charity). We also receive saving Grace at Baptism, but our faith is not dependent on that Grace, so we do not forfeit our faith if we fall into mortal sin (so there is no need for Confession to restore it). Faith is a permanent gift.

And that’s a good thing, because if we lost faith, we would not feel it necessary to attend Confession.

That is a very good and very true statement, a very good brief essential summary of what has been articulated at great length in many books in many languages for many centuries. :yup: :clapping: :tiphat: :coffeeread: :flowers:

For Catholics, the term Mystery refers to what is revealed to us, and we, by Faith put into us (as DavidFilmer wrote), call the revealed thing True and Good to be part of. The Faith is not in the revealed thing, but it is believing in the one revealing it - believing and trusting that this person is true and all they tell us is true and good to be part of . This person we trust is Jesus and those he has sent to us personally, the apostolic Church.

The content of the Mystery can be understood by reason, but the truth of it is in the hands of Jesus’ being true. We believe Jesus and his Church is truthful in telling us there is a Trinity and who the Trinity is, and we use our reason to understand the workings of the Trinity, how we are united to the Trinity, etc.

This is how I approach explaining the understanding of the Mysteries at my website called, “SoftVocation : Understanding the Mysteries” at

The sequence is, Take Jesus at his Word (faith), then think (reason) about the content of his words, what they mean. When you then reason about it, you are having it as a real object of your knowing, it becomes part of you and you become part of it (which is what you want when you consider something “good”).

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