The True Knowledge
In writing this, I’m struck by how accurate the adage “history repeats itself” is. When new or revolutionary ideas are introduced into a society or group, individuals usually tend to form their generalized opinion of that idea based on their interpretation of certain aspects within it. As the fledgling cult of early Christianity began to spread along the Mediterranean coast and later to the Sasanian Empire, people were struck by the unheard-of teachings it boldly proclaimed.
As a result, countless men and women converted to this new reality. Others, however, were unable to accept this new idea of a Risen Christ without holding onto aspects of their Hellenistic (or Greek) Jewish faith (see Acts 17:18). These groups, called Gnostics, claimed to be in possession of the “real truth” of Christianity. They boasted of the wisdom they deciphered from the teachings of the Apostles, to which Clement of Alexandria wrote “knowledge (gnosis), which is the perfection of faith, goes beyond catechetical instruction”. Instead of shying from such a heretical idea, Clement proclaimed that faithful Christians are the true Gnostics.
This is the burden with which we have been blessed. We carry in our hearts a key of grace that unlocks all aspects of this world. Now, our Latin rite friends produced a great man: St. Augustine of Hippo. Augustine wrote of an early tradition called the disciplina arcani, Latin for “Discipline of the Secret” (also see Hippolytus of Rome, Ap. Trad. xxiii, xiv). Aspects of the Catholic faith, such as the Trinity and Real Presence, were not taught to catechumens until they were spiritually mature. Friends, we have, by our baptism and proclamation of faith, been given the duty of carrying this knowledge. We live not by partisan ideologies or political alignment, but by the Word of God and the teachings of the Church.
I challenge you to refocus your entire life on what you know to be certain: the love of God. You cannot control this world or its members, but you can control your will and your mind. Don’t get a child baptized just to check it off your proverbial list. Don’t tell your family that there’s a dispensation from Mass, so therefore Sundays don’t have to be about God anymore. Don’t put sports before the One who allowed for sports to even exist. You are a keeper of a most beautiful secret, one which has been revealed to us out of an expectation that we will bear this spiritual torch with pride.