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Faith and Thought/Thinking

“Our culture thinks in terms of “thinking” (ratio). However, Christian faith is not a subset or a mode of discursive reason. It is, however, a mode of perception, just as is seeing, smelling, hearing, or touch. Faith is the mode of the heart’s perception, and since everyone, even a modern person, actually has a heart, everyone is capable of faith. It is, however, something that takes practice and patience.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“…thinking about God is a problem if you want to commune with God. In fact, because our attention is so completely riveted to what’s playing on the big screen of our thinking mind, we can live completely unaware of the deeper ground of the heart that already communes with God, that knows only communion, as branches know deeply the vine (Jn 15:5).” (Martin Laird)

“Christian faith… is adherence to a presence which confers certitude, in such a way that certitude, here, is first….Thus faith allows us to think, it gives us true intelligence. Knowledge is given to us by faith, that is to say, by our participatory adherence to the presence of Him Who reveals Himself. Faith is therefore not a psychological attitude, a mere fidelity. It is an ontological relationship between man and God… Faith as ontological participation included in a personal meeting is therefore the first condition for theological knowledge.” (Vladimir Lossky)

“The ideas that we entertain in our minds have a profound influence on our faith. The thoughts that might lead us astray from the doctrine of Christ may not overtly contradict the teachings of the faith. But they may be like a guest who moves into our home and takes over. They may crowd out and eventually displace the truths concerning Christ. To guard against losing our faith to other perspectives, ideas, and interests, we should make sure that the Lord and His ways are continually on our minds. If constant prayer, meditation, reading of Scripture, and study of the fathers of the Church occupy our thoughts and if service to our neighbor motivates our actions, there will be no room for errant ideas and activities.” (Fr. Basil)

“When seeds fall into the ground, you think they rot and are lost. But, through the force that God’s put into them, they sprout and grow and produce in large quantities. The same’s true of the seeds of the divine word. They’re sown in all human hearts, but sprout only in those which are fertile. Faith isn’t diminished in the least by the fact that not everyone believes. Don’t concern yourself with non-believers. Look at those who truly believe and you’ll see what they enjoy through their faith. The Christian faith isn’t a philosophical system but a way for Christ, as God and human person, to reform fallen people through the grace of the Holy Spirit. So look carefully at those who follow in the footsteps of Christ. And you’ll see how they gradually grow, how they mature spiritually and how great they become, even if they’re insignificant to the rest of the world.” (Saint Theophan the Recluse)


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