Simple faith


#1

It is often said to that in agrarian societies that people have "simple faith" or "childlike faith". What exactly does that mean? After all, you do not need to be learned to become a saint (though it does help :-P).


#2

I don't have a long answer for this but I think someone like St. Therese embodies this idea.


#3

[quote="Ora_et_Labora, post:1, topic:183043"]
It is often said to that in agrarian societies that people have "simple faith" or "childlike faith". What exactly does that mean? After all, you do not need to be learned to become a saint (though it does help :-P).

[/quote]

First and formost it means a simple devotion (Love) to God and a neighbor without a great deal of need for "reasoning it all through".

In other words, have you ever heard of the parental retort, "because I said so"? Well in the case of "simple people" the same can apply. they accept ti because the Church says it is so. They accept it as a Child would.
Their pastor teaches them, ministers to them and helps them. They in turn accept the teaching as a child accepts teaching from a parent. After all, a parent (or pastor) is much smarter (better educated) than a child (or simple peasent farmer).

This ability to accept things in this simple and Loving way is a great Gift which one can see often in the writngs of the great saints. St Therese of Liseaux is one, St Fancis is another.

Peace
James


#4

I think it is a mistake to think that an extensive education is incompatible with a simple faith. For instance, look at St. Thomas Aquinas. Doctor of the Church, studied philosophy, wrote thousands of pages of detailed and subtle theology, etc. When he went to bed at night, he would leave what he had written that day in front of the Tabernacle, asking Jesus to look it over and pass judgment on it. He preached a beautiful, simple homily on charity towards others. The story goes that when he was praying in front of a crucifix and Jesus asked him what he wanted, he said, "Only Thyself." He had a massive intellect but submitted himself to his superiors and to Jesus. He died saying that what he had written was straw, acknowledging the inability of his writing to convey the greatness of God.

We're all called to be like little children. Seems to me that simplicity of faith, simplicity of the heart, is something common to all the saints regardless of their level of education, or their knowledge of theology.

Just my two cents. :)


#5

2 cents that are very nicely put :thumbsup:


#6

[quote="JRKH, post:3, topic:183043"]
First and formost it means a simple devotion (Love) to God and a neighbor without a great deal of need for "reasoning it all through".

In other words, have you ever heard of the parental retort, "because I said so"? Well in the case of "simple people" the same can apply. they accept ti because the Church says it is so. They accept it as a Child would.
Their pastor teaches them, ministers to them and helps them. They in turn accept the teaching as a child accepts teaching from a parent. After all, a parent (or pastor) is much smarter (better educated) than a child (or simple peasent farmer).

This ability to accept things in this simple and Loving way is a great Gift which one can see often in the writngs of the great saints. St Therese of Liseaux is one, St Fancis is another.

Peace
James

[/quote]

In the great saints I have noticed that "because God says so" is generally the case. It even seems to be commended. Yet when we talk about your average, church-going Christian, it suddenly seems nowadays that this kind of attitude is inadmissible; some seem to even imply that such faith is "no faith at all".

Student: I wasn't trying to implying that an extensive education. I believe that it may actually lead to simple faith; that you arrive at certain conclusions and then see that that is what the Church has taught and after a while you simply don't need to think it out any more, just become obedient.


#7

Perhaps, but then this generation is rife with poor thinking.

The thing that we all must remember is that our faith is, or should be, the simplest of all…

Love God and Love each other.

Simple…

Until one begins to look around for reasons not to love as God Loves.

Peace
James


#8

When I think of people with simple faith, I think of people who never question God’s will. They know He is all-good, and even when bad things happen it never crosses their minds that maybe they should blame God. I completely understand those who struggle with faith, but I think we should all aspire to see God as a child sees his earthly father.


#9

[quote="Ora_et_Labora, post:6, topic:183043"]

Student: I wasn't trying to implying that an extensive education. I believe that it may actually lead to simple faith; that you arrive at certain conclusions and then see that that is what the Church has taught and after a while you simply don't need to think it out any more, just become obedient.

[/quote]

I suppose I just don't see what's wrong with thinking it out, if one ultimately submits one's judgment to the Church. St Anselm said, "I believe in order that I may understand." He started by an acceptance of the Gospel, and then wrote arguments for its truth and sought to understand it better. Does that mean he didn't have a simple faith? Seems to me his faith was quite simple, since that was his premise. It was also St. Aquinas' premise.

It's hard to express tone on the internet, but I want to be clear that I'm not trying to be argumentative. I'm just making a pitch for the notion that there is a place in the Church for deep-thinking, and speculative thinking, and the desire to know and understand intellectually, and that this does not rule out a childlike faith.

There are plenty of saints who were uneducated and learned their theology from their priests and directly from God. St. Faustina prayed for intellectual knowledge. St. Margaret Mary begged to learn how to do mental prayer. Our intellects are not bad, they are made by God!


#10

Well said. Each must follow in their own fashon.
So long as one does not lose sight of how truly simple the whole thing is.
Love is the core, the means, and the goal that allows us to reach the beatific vision.
Everything else is details :wink:

Peace
James


#11

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but arren’t people who go through the Dark Night of the Soul left with what one could call “simple faith”? From what I was able to glimpse from St. Thérèse at least it seemed that in the end she was left only with a belief in God, that that was the only thing to which she could cling.


#12

[quote="Ora_et_Labora, post:11, topic:183043"]
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but arren't people who go through the Dark Night of the Soul left with what one could call "simple faith"? From what I was able to glimpse from St. Thérèse at least it seemed that in the end she was left only with a belief in God, that that was the only thing to which she could cling.

[/quote]

In the end ALL faith should be a simple faith.

Some are able to reach this more quickly than others.

And some can accept it more easily than others.

However, it is virtually impossible to describe how glorious this faith is in few words.
Faith is beautifully simple in it's integrated from in our hearts, but hidiously complicated when we try to explain it to others.

That is why - in the end we are left with Believe in God and Love for Him and for our neighbors.

Peace
James


#13

[quote="JRKH, post:10, topic:183043"]

So long as one does not lose sight of how truly simple the whole thing is.
Love is the core, the means, and the goal that allows us to reach the beatific vision.
Everything else is details ;)

[/quote]

Well said! :)


closed #14

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