Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
Faith is not necessary to arrive at the conviction that God has actually given a revelation to mankind, and that Christianity is that revelation. But, whilst reason can prove the fact of this revelation, faith is necessary for the full acceptance of the contents of that revelation. Quite apart from religion, this holds good in the merely natural order. There is a natural faith with which you yourself could not quarrel, and which you would not dream of branding as unreasonable. For example, reason tells me that there are very good grounds for accepting Professor Haldane as an expert in his own particular branch of natural science. Now he tells me that there are no chromosomes in the simplest living cells. I accept that as a fact by faith in the knowledge and veracity of Professor Haldane in this particular matter. If you asked me to prove that there are no chromosomes in the simplest living cells, I could but show you where Professor Haldane states this to be a definite and certain conclusion of biological science, and advance reasons for the acceptance of Haldane as a competent authority. If you refused to have faith in Haldane in this matter, you would reject his teaching; but the refusal of faith in him in this matter would be unreasonable. So, too, reason can justify the claims of the Christian religion to be the revelation of God. But the teachings of that religion deal with truths of the supernatural order much more above the experience of ordinary human knowledge than Haldane's chromosomes are above the average man's scientific experience. We, therefore, accept Christian teachings by faith; but that act of faith is reasonable in virtue of the reasonable grounds for the Christian religion as the revelation of God.
That does not follow. There are reasonable men who have never seriously studied the evidences for Christianity. There are others who have bestowed some attention upon them, but who, although reasonable in other matters, have approached this study with a prejudice which has prevented their appreciating the force of the proofs. Others, again, will admit the force of the proofs, but are not willing to accept by faith the teachings of the Christian religion. Instead of accepting them by faith, they seem to think that an independent proof should be offered for every single doctrine to their satisfaction; and declare that they will accept no religious truth on authority. Yet others are as convinced as I am of the truth of the Christian religion, and of all its teachings; but they will not accept that religion nor those teachings because they are not prepared to fulfill the practical consequences of them. They dismiss all thought of the matter as far as possible--and remain non-Christians.
You can be quite sure that, despite all human speculations, what God actually chose to do was the better thing.
Your suggestion of greater natural means at His disposal would have had little appeal for Christ. Although He could have had them, He deliberately deprived Himself of them even to the extent in which they were available in His own time. And He did this precisely to show that His work was of God. Natural human wisdom would have suggested the entry of the Son of God into this world as a magnificent personage, with striking splendor, and vast resources of earthly wealth. But instead of being born in a palace, He was born in a stable; instead of honor and renown, He was born in obscurity and humiliation; instead of choosing wealth, He chose poverty. To human prudence it seems the road to failure. Had you a desire to establish a world-wide religion, and had the choice of means, you would have chosen just the opposite path as being likely to lead to success. But the more ill advised you declare the means adopted by Jesus, the greater the tribute you pay to His work.
The time of Christ was no more unpropitious than today. No time could be more propitious than another on the score that natural means are more readily and abundantly at hand. We are dealing with a supernatural, not a natural religion. Faith in the teachings of Christ cannot be arrived at by any man's unaided efforts. The grace of God is required, giving a supernatural and spiritual enlightenment to the mind. So Jesus Himself said, when the Jews refused to believe in Him, "No man can come to Me unless the Father draw him." Jn. VI., 44. And St. Paul rightly says, "The sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God." 1 Cor. II., 14. If men could see the works that Jesus did, and hear the words that He said, yet not believe, I do not see how other men would be any better off if they heard a description of His works by radio as they occurred, or heard His words from loud-speakers in their homes. Radio and press publicity would not necessarily have improved matters. Meantime, the printed Gospels are within the reach of all. Of those who read them, some believe; some do not.