Taking care of our doctrinal formation

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT gospel episode where a leading Jew, Nicodemus by name, asked Christ about what was to be born again (cfr. Jn 3,7-15) tells us that we need to give due attention and care for our doctrinal formation. And that’s simply because our Christian faith, supernatural and mysterious as it is, also comes to us in the form of doctrines that we need to study and understand.

We need to see this vital connection between God and the doctrine that we need to study and meditate on. Hopefully, we assimilate this doctrine such that it becomes flesh of our flesh.

Our usual problem is that we tend to disconnect the two, raising all sorts of reasons why such vital link between God and the doctrine cannot be possible, if not always, then from time to time.

There’s obviously some point to why the doctrine cannot fully capture God and his teachings. And that’s because of the human elements involved in the doctrine. But in spite of that, we need to realize that in its substance and in its core, the doctrine is actually divine.

We just have to know how to distinguish between its divine character and its human elements that would unavoidably include some limitations. This is actually part of our human condition and we just have to learn how to live with it.

Truth is God always intervenes in our life and makes use of our humanity to come and be with us. We should not waste time making a big fuss about the human limitations that accompany this abiding divine interventions.

That’s why God through Christ in the Spirit has endowed the Church with the proper power and authority to teach his doctrine integrally and infallibly, much like we as a nation entrust our government with certain power to govern us in spite of the many limitations in the men running the government.

Except that in the case of God in relation to the Church, the act of empowering goes far more radically than what takes place in our empowering of our government to rule over us.

We need to consider the Church doctrine as the true and most precious doctrine that can bring us to our ultimate joy and end. It is not just a man-made doctrine that can give us some benefits and advantages, some social or economic progress, but not our ultimate supernatural end.

We also need to see the Church doctrine as the proper spirit that should animate any human doctrine we may make for some practical purpose we may have in the different aspects of our life—personal, family, professional, social, political, etc.

Thus, it is essential that we learn to know the Church doctrine or the doctrine of our faith such that this doctrine becomes the moving spirit behind our every thought, word and deed, behind our every plan and project, big or small, ordinary or extraordinary.

There is need for us to know how to relate the doctrine of our faith to our daily affairs and to our very serious and big projects and plans, and vice versa. At the moment, this expertise is hardly known, its need hardly felt.

This is the challenge we are facing today as we tackle the increasingly rapid, complex and complicated developments. Let’s hope that we can overcome whatever biases we have that hinder the appreciation of our basic need for Church doctrine in our human affairs.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com