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1910 New Catholic Dictionary


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Revealed truths which are above human understanding, but not contrary to reason. There are mysteries of a kind all around us. We do not understand how life originates, nor how the food we eat becomes part of ourselves. The chemist can not change milk into flesh and blood. No, man, however wise, can make a blade of grass. If there are mysteries in nature it is not surprising that there are mysteries in the Author of nature. There are three great and fundamental mysteries in the Catholic religion:

  • 1) the Trinity
  • 2) the Incarnation
  • 3) the Eucharist

to which Monsignor Kolbe adds that of the Mystical Body of Christ. We believe these mysteries, not because we understand them nor because we can discover them by unaided reason, but solely on the word of God Who has declared them. God is incomprehensible to finite intelligence. By revelation He tells us something of His nature or His works which otherwise we should never know. How there are three persons in God, how God became man in the Incarnation, how the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, we do not know; but on God's word we know that these mysteries are true. The Christian religion alone has mysteries in its teaching. Every other religion proclaims only such things as man can originate and understand. Saint Augustine declared that he could not believe the Christian religion was divine, if it taught only that which man could devise and comprehend. Any religion that is from God, and tells us about the nature of God, must proclaim truths that are above human comprehension: "hardly do we guess aright at things that are upon earth. But the things that are in heaven, who shall search out?" (Wisdom of Solomon 9) We are a mystery to ourselves; much more should the Creator be a mystery to us. If faith required us to believe only what was demonstrated it would not be faith at all, but evidence. The merit of faith consists in the fact that we sacrifice our intellect on the altar of God's word. We believe because God, Who is truth itself, is our authority. Mysteries serve the two-fold purpose of giving us knowledge of God, otherwise unattainable, and affording us the means of making an act of sublime faith in God. The greatest theologian does not understand the mysteries of faith any more than a child of six. To believe on the word of God is not to renounce reason, but to make good use of it. God does not ask us to understand Him but to trust and to love Him.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Mysteries'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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