“Teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). Faith requires instruction and an ethical approach, not a vague sense of transcendent and inexpressible reality. Granted, it leaves its mark first on the human heart, but from the depths of the heart it leaves its mark also on intellect and will. Faith requires a constant training of the whole personality and a readiness to keep on learning for the rest of one’s life, to remain a pupil in the school of Christ. Teaching is a Christian calling, a work of mercy, for the lack of truth, the lack of knowledge, is a more dire form of poverty than any purely material form. You cannot teach if you do not give instruction about the nature of man, if you do not transmit a comprehensive history of human culture. On the other hand, every instruction must also serve as an affirmation of the art of being human and an assurance that the nucleus of this art is faith. At the present time, a purely intellectual understanding of instruction has emerged in many places. Every attempt to offer an instruction based on the truth of our being is consequently interpreted as an attack against freedom and the self-determination of the individual. Such an attitude would be appropriate if there were no truth engraved on our life from the beginning. But in such a case the autonomous self-determination of the individual would be absurd and would end in nothingness. But if there is a truth already engraved in us, if our existence is the realization of a thought of the Eternal Truth, then the proclamation of this truth and assistance in living our lives in the way of this truth are the definitive step in the liberation of humanity – in the liberation from the absurd and from nothingness into the fullness of its destiny.
From: Roman Homilies, January 23, 1985