For her birthday today, I decided to bake my daughter’s favorite – Chess Cake. It’s an old recipe, from a great-aunt who died 30 years ago – in her late 90’s. As with the German recipes left by my mother, God rest her soul, this one is simple. So simple, in fact, that it consists of only a list of ingredients and the desired baking time. There are no instructions. Do I cream the butter or melt it? Are the eggs slightly beaten or do they go into the batter one at a time, as is?
As I was working through the nuances of baking, and not wanting disappointing results, I searched the internet for similar recipes. There, I would find the missing details.
I’m not flustered by those great cooks who came before me. They were alive in a time when the details were so well known that one didn’t need to write them down. Much like the bread recipe I bake, the actions were automatic, because this was something they did on a regular basis. And, after all, I had the means to easily find instructions. All I had to do was look.
This brought me to the current events through which we are now struggling. Sure, most people have a basic understanding of right and wrong. Yet, they don’t know the details. The how and why simply escapes them. There’s so much indignation about contrived ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ because their morality has been formed without any instructions about the faith.
Once we fail to build up our faith by continued research and learning, we become slaves of the passing tides of society. The one, most glaring indication I am seeing is that most individuals now want to rule their conscience with feelings rather than truth.
Truth is concrete; it doesn’t sway with the times or with emotions. Truth just is. That’s a difficult concept for many to grasp these days. It’s also the reason our Catholic faith is so important. God didn’t give His Word to the masses for interpretation. When Jesus called Peter the rock on which He would build His Church, He intended Peter to represent Him – not himself, Peter. Jesus instructed those who passed His litmus test as disciples to go out and inform the nations. What He didn’t say was, go and interpret my Word as you will.
The hierarchy of the Church is vital for gaining the understanding behind the concept – the instructions that go with the ingredients, if you will. Yes, we have the laity, who are tasked with living and proclaiming the Gospel. But we also have priests at the parish level, bishops, cardinals, and a pope.
All of these steps up toward Jesus provide an unbroken line of knowledge that originates with Jesus. If an individual or a cleric fails in proclaiming the word correctly, we can still go to the top – Jesus. He handed down the ingredients and instructions. The Deposit of Faith held by the Church, from its very beginning, cannot be denied. Since it stems from Jesus – God – it’s infallible. Those tasked with sharing it may display their feet of clay at times – yet the Stone that the builders rejected, the Corner Stone Jesus, is always there to secure His Church.