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Faith: Before the advent of Christ and His church

Ancient Greek questions on life can help reflect on Christianity

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Before the advent of Christ and His Church, the most meaningful intellectual force in the civilized world came from ancient Greek philosophers.

To understand their great body of work in philosophy, I would highlight three questions. Reflecting on these philosophical questions, I believe we can firmly place ourselves in a right relationship with God and the whole world.

The Greek philosophers didn't actually understand the fullness of truth because Jesus had not yet been revealed by that time, but still truths from the minds of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle formulated for their disciples contain wisdom and deep understanding.

"What is real?" This question leads us onto the path of discernment in life.

When I was a small child, I used to believe that if I accidentally fell into the "grown-up" toilet, I would be sucked away forever. The fear was ridiculous of course. I didn't understand, and as such I was subject to a fear based on things that were real to me but were not actually based on reality.

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Sometimes in our culture we seem to be subject to thinking about things that aren't really real. Things that God has created as good are turned upside down. Such principles of "wokeism" that relate to history and gender or facts that pertain to human life and a baby's development in the womb and consider social media and all the distortion and toxicity it creates.

What is real is "really" good and leads directly to the next very important question.

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"What is true?" If we understand the things that are real and that they exist for a certain purpose, then we can see the truth behind them.

For most of my adulthood, I have struggled with my mental health. Especially in the beginning, I struggled with the thought of getting outside help because I wanted to do it my way and just pray myself out of the hole I was in.

The truth was I needed help. My brain needed help I couldn't provide. Spiritually I was fine, but my mental health was the real problem. That truth led me to a doctor, and I did get the help I needed. Every time I take my medication for my mental health it is a reminder of the truth about myself, and I am humbled by the fact that God is helping me as well as the good people who created these drugs, they are helping me too.

The question "what is true?" leads to the final and most critical one deeply intertwined with the other two.

"What is good?" As Christians, we know the answer to this question, and it is simple, and it is profound. God is good! He embodies everything that is good and can redeem things that don't look good to us, like suffering, pain, even death.

How many of us look upon Christ crucified and see an image of suffering, pain and death? Not many. No, we see love. The purest form of love. Jesus's love led Him to lay down His life for us so that we could go to the Father to be resurrected just as He rose from the tomb.

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Jesus is God, and He is good, and God is love, and we are called to imitate this love.

Finally, I challenge you. Are you faithfully serving your family and others? Are you praying and worshiping God on Sunday? Do you put God before all things? Are you struggling in your marriage? Addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping or food? Are you in an abusive relationship?

These and other questions can be made clear if you can discover what is actually real, true and good in your life and then pursue them to the proper end by namely bringing about happiness for you in this world and in the next.

Father David Forsman is the pastor at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in Crosslake and St. Emily Catholic Church in Emily.

Related Topics: FAITHFAITH COLUMNCROSSLAKE
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