Pope cites St. Anselm: “First, one must have faith!”

stanselm

During the Pope’s General Audience yesterday, September 23, in Rome, Pope Benedict said that understanding God will never come from study alone — one must first believe.

Theologians and Christians who wish to deepen their faith “cannot count on just their intelligence, but must cultivate a profound experience of faith at the same time,” he said.

The Pope’s catechesis was dedicated to the life and teachings of St. Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th-century Benedictine and Doctor of the Church.

According to Anselm, Benedict explained, people who wish to better understand the Christian tradition can carry out “a healthy theological quest” by following three steps.

First, one must have faith, which is “a free gift from God to be welcomed with humility.”

The second step is experience, which entails incorporating the word of God in one’s everyday life.

The final step is “true understanding, which is never a result of ascetic reasoning, but of contemplative intuition,” Benedict said.

The Pope then cited St. Anselm’s most famous phrase: “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe so that I may understand.”

The Pope concluded by saying that Anselm showed how the journey to understand God is never fully complete, at least here on earth.

Source: Inside the Vatican Letter #30

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