Man’s listening to the message of faith is not the passive registering of otherwise unknown information, but the resuscitation of our choked memory and the opening of the powers of understanding which await the light of the truth in us.
“Truth and Freedom,” in Communio 23, p. 33
Reflection – Sometimes we can miss this, right? We can think of faith as a set of doctrines to be learned, a series of formulas which we have to memorize (somehow!) so that we get the answers right, whether on an exam or on The Great Exam to end all exams.
Certainly, our Catholic faith has content. We have dogmas, there are things revealed to us that are essential to our salvation. But it is this very essentiality of the dogmas of the faith that reveals to us what Ratzinger is referring to in this passage.
We are not Gnostics. God is not some Being up there who has set a series of traps and tricks and puzzles that we have to work our way through, like mice in a maze, to get to Heaven.
God has made us for communion with Him. He has made us to be one with Him, not by nature, but by grace, in at eternal embrace, an eternal dance, an eternal banquet. This is encoded into our very spiritual DNA, our very being, the structure of our humanity.
And something in us has gotten choked, somehow. We have lost our memory. Call it original sin (that’s one of those dogmas, after all) or call it something else—we need revelation, not to get the right answers for the Final Judgment SATs, but to stir up in us the deep truth of who we are and what we are to be and how we are to live to get there, and Who is accompanying us to bring us there.
As I keep saying (and will continue to keep saying) on this blog, it’s all about relationship, communion, love, encounter. And the message of faith, the Creed, the dogmas—all awaken in us the deep remembrance of this, and steer us, if we let them, into that path of love and union.