Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Faith of our Fathers

This evening, reading this concise book by James Cardinal Gibbons, I have run into an explanation which I'd not heard expounded before, except from my own meditations, and it is comforting to know that where the spirit has led in prayer, better men than me have gone before, and with greater erudition and eloquence, stating it simply and concisely. Suffice to say, that the protestant doctrine of sola scriptura (private interpretation) is prefigured in the Old Testament by the typology of the Tower of Babel; man erects an edifice on which he attempts to climb to heaven, but instead is confounded and unable to communicate with his brother, resulting only in confusion and discord instead. This is the logical and inevitable result of private interpretation of scripture cut loose from the divinely authorized teaching church as a guide.

In the copy of "The Faith of our Fathers" which I recently obtained (1893 edition, original price $1), I notice in the back, listed for sale, that there are several titles by "Faber", including "All for Jesus," "Bethlehem," "Foot of the Cross," "Hymns," and more. Scratch my head... Faber, that's a familiar name. Sure enough, "The Life of St. Rose of Lima" which I transcribed and is linked on the side bar, is an edition edited by Fr. F. W. Faber, who it turns out is Frederick William Faber, Tractarian convert, founder of the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri with Newman, and author of the Hymn "Faith of our Fathers" (title of my current read)!

Faith of our fathers! Mary's prayers
Shall win our country back to thee;
And through the truth that comes from God
England shall indeed be free
Faith of our fathers, Holy Faith
We will be true to thee till death...

When I used to sing this (well, the sanitized OCP version) in the Episcopal Church, I used to wonder about it, 'cause I certainly could not sing about my father's faith, so what the heck was it about anyway? I had the suspicion that there were things I wasn't being told. The journey of discovery continues, because there are still things untold, in the Catholic Church as well; and sometimes I think I am like a forensic examiner trying to reconstruct what was once living and vibrant, but now it is hard to find a reliable guide; but these little things reassure me that The Guide is still active, if one looks and is docile to Him, rather than seeking the novelty of being tossed around by every wind of doctrine.

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