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Knowing God (or maybe not)

I like reading the Old Testament prophets. One of the reasons is that they say so much about Christ and the Church; the problem, of course, is that they say it in a way that is often symbolic and thus hard to understand. You have to have a deep knowledge of the motifs and themes that are used in ancient Hebrew poetry and literature. Back in college I took extra classes in Old Testament theology to help me understand this; I enjoyed them all--I know, I am a bible nerd.

One passage that I still have not plumbed the depths of is where the prophet Jeremiah says that all the members of the Church will know God. We live in a day and age where almost all of the members of the Church know about God, but not all of them truly know God. I am not saying that Jeremiah got it wrong, but just that I am not yet sure how this passage is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. The context makes it clear that it does not refer to the eternal state (though some Old Testament prophecies clearly do), but to the present existence of the Church.

It is not an issue of any lack in the prophetic words of God through His prophets, but rather a lack in my understanding. It often makes me wonder, though, what is going on today. I have met many (very many) Catholics who appear to have no more than just a cursory knowledge of God. They seem to have the grace of their baptism which has enabled them to believe and know a few basics about the faith, but nothing more; practically speaking they are merely "nice Americans" but not "practicing Catholics" (though they go to Church regularly and are involved). It seems as though vast numbers of the faithful are so only in name and this makes my heart ache.

This is more than an issue of transmission of knowledge. It is an issue of their eternal souls being in danger of Hell. The saddest thing about it that I can see is this: it appears that this is not just an accident, but the result of an intentional watering down of the faith by many of those in higher positions of authority in the Church (you probably know of whom I speak). What will do to reverse this trend?


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