If you look at all the readings you will see approximately four hundred words. Within those four hundred words are seven that define the current battle we are encountering between the Catholics and the culture.
We walk by faith and not by sight, what does that mean? We work with a different understanding of our existence than those who reject God and faith. We see a bigger picture than those who reject faith can see, and when we see the bigger picture we have a deeper understanding who we are and where we are going. Those who reject that bigger picture live and act and judge and make decisions with less knowledge and ignorantly cause great damage.
Let me give you an example: What sunk the Titanic? Many will say it was an iceberg, however, if you look at the whole story, it would appear to be like a scene out the horror movie Final Destination. You know the character is going to die because he or she survived the plane crash, so when everything begins to line up for that character to meet his or her demise you can see it all happening step by step. You have knowledge that the character does not have. You know what is coming, the character never discovers what you know until it is too late.
If you are aware of all the factors that went into the sinking of the Titanic, you would be screaming: Don’t get on the ship! But of course no one would listen to you, because they would consider you a naive, superstitious fool.
The iceberg was hardly what brought down the Titanic. There were a whole bunch of other issues in which the iceberg was just one factor.
The seas were intensely calm: This is a rare event out at sea. Usually there are some swells; when they break against something like an iceberg tiny animals in the water encounter the oxygen in the air and they light up giving the swells’ caps a fluorescent glow and makes the iceberg easy to see. The process is called bioluminescence. It is a rare thing to see the ocean, especially the North Atlantic so calm that there are no swells, like it was that night. This made the icebergs invisible in the moonless night, another factor.
They had no binoculars on board. The officer who held the key was sent home before the ship sent sail and took with him the key to the cabinet that held binoculars by accident.
There was a temperature inversion on the horizon that made the icebergs even more difficult to see. It is the same principle you see happening when you look at ships in the ocean and they appear hard to see and even floating in the air as opposed to on the sea.
These are just three of many factors that went into the process. Today, we look back and ask, how could people be so foolish as to believe what they did believe and trust that the ship was unsinkable. Just as I said, it is like watching a scene out of Final Destination.
This same principle is what plays itself in the current clash between faith and culture. We walk by reason, like the passengers of crew on the Titanic, taking into account what we see and perceive and act on it. Then, on top of that, not by the way instead of, but on top of reason, we walk by faith in that case we are like the viewers of the Titanic movie knowing that the inevitable is going to happen and has to happen because people lived by a limited amount of information instead of looking at the bigger picture. We are like the people who see all the issues and say “Do not get on that ship, there is no such thing as an unsinkable ship.” Again, they would have ignored us as superstitious fools.
We look around as people of faith and listen to people dismiss us as superstitious fools, meanwhile we can see the bigger picture and say: “There is trouble ahead. Pay attention.” They won’t by the way, but at least we can eventually say: “We warned you, but you did not listen.”
Paul in Romans 12:2 calls for us to encounter a renewal of our minds. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This is a mandate from Paul. This walk by faith not by sight is not just a good idea, it is a mandate. You and I have a calling to be wiser than those who call us fools. But that is why they call us fools because they are lacking in wisdom while believing they are the wisest of men. Just like those getting on the Titanic, believing that ships sinking were not a thing that 20th century would see.
This is why we live the morality we do, all of it. It is a witness to the greater truths that those who reject Christ do not yet know, to their own detriment.
So we live by Church teaching, we live by our prayer and our liturgy and our morality even when the world rejects us because we walk by faith and not by sight, so that we can testify to the truth that is Christ and his saving message.
John Adams warned: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
And a reminder of a principle of warfare. How does a small country take down a large country: Get the people against each other. The best way to get people against each other is to get them to reject charity by rejecting the source of charity which is God.
What did Jesus call us to do? Love one another and when we do that, we become stronger than the strongest army. But our role is to be like lifeboats to those who will succumb to a world that rejects God turns in on itself for they walk by reason without faith and those who walk by faith without reason can be of no assistance at all.
Never forget those seven words from St. Paul: We walk by faith, not by sight because that is what it means to be a Catholic.