with the Divine and Catholic Faith.
Outward AppearancesDuring His life on earth, Our Lord was seen by the ordinary eye as just one more human being – and not as Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Even after the Apostles knew Him and believed in Him as God and man, His appearance never changed (except for the miracle of the Transfiguration to only 2 of His Apostles).
In the interest of helping those who cannot see divine and supernatural truths, because of their lack of divine faith, We shall employ two examples. Then those who see that they are lacking faith are able to go to God and ask in all humility for the theological virtue of Faith.
Our first example is the X-ray. The doctor (like all the rest of men) cannot see below the skin with his naked eye. In order to see, for example, if a bone is broken or not, he takes an X-ray which sees the bone. Once one knows the operation of X-ray he realizes that he too can see the bone only with the use of an X-ray. A savage, not schooled in X-ray, just cannot understand that it is possible to see the condition of the bone, for he cannot see it with the naked eye. He knows of no other vision. Once he sees a bone by means of X-ray he knows what the doctor knows in that regard.
The second example is the magnet with its power to attract steel. Once again, take the savage who does not know magnets. Place a steel wire inside one straw, and leave another straw without a steel wire in it. Bring both of those wires up to a large magnet, and the straw with the steel wire will be attracted to the magnet, but the straw without the steel wire in it will not be attracted to the magnet. The savage will have no idea of why that phenomenon takes place, that is, until he learns the physical principle involved in magnets. Before that learning both straws seem exactly the same to him.
With the Eyes of Divine FaithAll mysteries of faith are hidden from those who are without divine faith … Our Lord remains just an ordinary man … the Pope remains just an ordinary man ... the priest remains just an ordinary man … the Consecrated Host just remains ordinary bread. We could go on and on. A Jew lawyer told Us that you can say all the good things you want about Christ, but do not tell me that He is God. That lawyer is exactly like the priests and Pharisees of old who stood below the Cross of Christ and said, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross.” Christ’s Blessed Mother, at the foot of the Cross, silently wept over her Son, true God and true man. Mary had divine faith. The priests and Pharisees did not have divine faith. And so, Mary was like the straw with the steel wire in it, and the priests and Pharisees were like the straw without the steel wire in it.
Praeambula Fidei --- Steps Before FaithThere are natural steps to faith which are known as “praeambula fidei.” However, they never become part of the faith itself. The steps, as for example, the miracles of Christ, are to the eye merely natural phenomenon. Those with divine faith see God in such phenomenon, and those without the divine faith see nothing of God in them. No matter how many, and no matter how great the miracles of Christ were, they did not appear as divine to any of those without divine faith. The same is true all through centuries, and it will continue to the end of time. We see individuals who have no faith. At the same time, there are many sects that claim to have the faith, but their refusal to become part of the Mystical Body shows that they do not have the Catholic and divine faith. Take for example the large Orthodox groups. Take the Protestants with their numerous sects. Practically all of these refuse to give up their errors and become members of the Mystical Body.
Accepting the PopeWe come back to the problem of accepting the Pope. Children get their instructions gradually, and they all know about St. Peter, and his successors, the Popes. After a papal election, Catholics and non-Catholics alike are confronted with the problem of judging if the papal election was valid or not. Even with everything correct in the election process, all the arguments in the world will never prove that a man is the Pope. Unless the observer has the steel wire of divine faith in himself, he will never draw close to the Pope. Stated in another way, unless one has the supernatural “X-ray” power of faith, he can never come to the conclusion that the Pope is the Pope. This faith in the papacy applies to every single person, the Pope himself included. He cannot recognize himself as the Pope unless he views the election process with his divine virtue of faith.
Classes of the UnbelieversThere are various classes of those without the faith. Simple pagans do not have the faith, and yet there is no opposition to Catholic teachings and realities. Another class consists of those who once knew the faith and gave it up. These are heretics and apostates. Then there are those who because of ill-will separated themselves from the Church by the act of schism. They rend the seamless garment of Christ.
The Apostles converted a pagan world. Although theirs was not an easy task, it was easier than converting a world that had once been Catholic. The condition of such fallen-away Catholics is truly pathetic.
In Hebrews 6, 4 to 6 it is recorded:
“For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, have tasted also the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Have moreover tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, And are fallen away: to be renewed again to penance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God and making him a mockery.”The word “impossible” must be understood as “very difficult.” The sacrament of Penance, where there is repentance, can take away all sins.
Who are those who “were once illuminated” “partakers of the Holy Ghost” and “tasted the heavenly gift” and so forth? They are those who once were Catholic, and then have fallen away, plus their succeeding generations. All the sects and individual fallen-aways have one thing in common: all of them refuse to accept the Pope. To make things worse, in their diabolical pride, they claim to be the only possessors of true Catholic faith. They become perfectly satisfied with being “Christians” without unity and without the center of unity, the Pope.
Unum SanctamAfter explaining the nature of the papacy, Pope Boniface VIII in the document (called a Bull) by the name “Unum Sanctam,” November 18, 1302, made the following infallible declaration:
“Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.”By diligent studies and divine faith, all men can come to the Pope, for their eternal salvation.
Given at Spokane, Washington, USA