People often wonder what is the use of religious truths that we cannot understand. What purpose does a mystery serve in our relations with God? Why should there be matters in our Faith which are above our comprehension? On a little though the reason for mysteries will be plain.
First of all, they enable us to make as act of faith in God. If God gave us truths which we could reason out for ourselves, we should not be trusting to His truthfulness but to our in-telligence . If you take from God only what you can verify, you are treating Him as you do your fellow-man. Indeed, hardly as well, for you take many things from your fellow-man which you do not and cannot verify. It is only one man in a million who understands matters of history, science, and government, yet all have faith in these things. See how we trust our lives and national honor to the ruler of our country.
He frequently does not and cannot give an explanation of his policy. Facts which he has and which justify his actions must be kept secret for reasons of the public welfare. Yet we Have such confidence in his intelligence and integrity that we trust him. That is our act of faith in the government, in a man. Should we not trust to the integrity and intelligence of the ruler of the world.
If, therefore, God sees fit to tell us something which we could never know by our own reason, why not accept it as an acquisition to our knowledge and be grateful for it? How many things the astronomer and chemist and historian tell us which most of us cannot reason out and yet which we accept gladly. All life may be said to be an act of faith in one another. Why, then, should we not make an act of faith in God?
Now if there were no mysteries, we could not make an act of faith in God. A mystery is something above reason , but not against it. It is something which, though not implying a contradiction, is yet so full of difficulty that we have to exclaim: How can it be! God Simply says: "If is so, trust me."
There are mysteries in our own lives, mysteries in the world about us. If you told anyone before Newton's time that there were people on the other side of the world, they would say: "Impossible! How can it be! They would fall off, they would head downwards !" If the law of gravitation solves the difficulty, why may not God, in His own time, solve all the mysteries? One of the joys of heaven will be that we shall understand everything.
I cannot say it too often, --God does not want us to understand Him, but to trust Him. If He sees fit to reveal to us certain things About Himself which we could never of our-selves learn, why not thank Him? Should we not expect God to be a mysteries Being? Nature is mysterious, why should not nature's God be so?
If then, there are revelations about the mysteries God, they must be in the nature of mys-teries. A man is a mystery to himself. He does not know how his mind commands his body, nor how he remembers things, nor how things outside of him are by eating turned into his body. If man is a mystery to man himself, why should not Almighty God be a mystery to him?
In parting to us, therefore, information about Himself, as in the Trinity and Incarnation and the Eucharist we should expect mysteries. It is for that reason that our religion called our holy Faith. It is based on faith in God. We know that God is Truth, that if He says something it is so, and accordingly we say: "Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth.".
Through the Church God speaks to us. Our duty is to accept it gratefully, and, by doing as directed, to merit one day to see face to face the Infinite God in whose light we shall be enlightened and in whose presence we shall rejoice forevermore. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the mind of man to conceive the thing that God hath prepared for them that love Him."
GOD AND MYSELF
Bt: Fr. Martin J. Scott S.J.