What do baking and a faithful life have in common? The answer lies with the ingredients and instructions. A correlation recently occurred to me while I was performing an ordinary task.
I often bake our daughter’s favorite pie for her birthday. The only recipe I have is old. It originates from a great-aunt who died 30 years ago – in her late 90’s. Similar to the German recipes left by my mother, God rest her soul, the recipe is brief. So brief, in fact, that it consists of only a list of ingredients and the desired baking temperature.
The little hand-written scrap of paper contains no directions. Is the butter creamed or melted? Are the eggs slightly beaten or do they go into the batter one at a time, as is? Without knowing what to do, I have no assurance of the desired outcome.
As I was working through the nuances of baking, not wanting disappointing results, I searched the internet for similar recipes. There, I found the missing details. In current times, those great cooks of the past do not fluster me. They lived in a time when the details were so familiar that there was no need to write them down. Much like my own bread recipe, the actions were automatic, because this was something they did on a regular basis. Fortunately, I had the means to easily find directions – all I had to do was look.
This baking dilemma and solution brought me to the current events through which we now struggle. Sure, most people fundamentally understand right and wrong. Yet, the details are often illusive. The how and why simply escapes many. Some people today feel irate because they believe the current culture’s contrived ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’. This can be attributed to the formation of their morality – or lack thereof. There is a basic absence of thorough instructions about the faith.
Once we fail to build up our faith, by continued research and learning, we become slaves of the passing tides of society. There is one glaring indicator of this pervasive state of mind in society today. So many individuals now want to rule their conscience with feelings rather than truth.
Feelings or Truth?
Truth is concrete. The times or emotions do not sway it. Truth just is. These days, however, many people find this to be a difficult concept to grasp. This is one significant reason that thoroughly learning our Catholic faith is vital. Therein lie the perfect instructions for a faithful life.
God’s Word is not subject to the masses for interpretation. When Jesus called Peter the rock on which He would build His Church, He intended Peter to represent Him – not himself, Peter. Jesus instructed those who passed His litmus test as disciples to go out and inform the nations. Jesus did not say, go and interpret my Word as you want or according to your feelings. After all, Truth is an essential element of proper catechesis.
Those who erroneously rely on feelings are subject to whims and emotional sway. Their opinions are based on a false narrative – one that is changeable and reliant on passing ideas and societal pressures. Truth is concrete; it cannot be swayed. Opinions and feelings, however, are susceptible.
Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. ~ John 17:17
Living a Faithful Life
The hierarchy of the Church is vital for gaining the understanding behind the concept – the instructions that go with the ingredients, if you will. Yes, we have the laity, tasked with living and proclaiming the Gospel. Yet we also have priests at the parish level, bishops, cardinals, and a pope.
All of these steps, progressing toward Jesus, provide an unbroken line of knowledge that originates with Him. If an individual or a cleric fails in proclaiming the word correctly, we can still go to the top – Jesus. He handed down the ingredients and instructions. The Deposit of Faith held by the Church, from its very beginning, cannot be denied. Since it stems from Jesus – God – it is infallible. Those tasked with sharing it may display their feet of clay at times – yet the Stone that the builders rejected, the Corner Stone Jesus, is always there to secure His Church.