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Dulles' Insight Useful in Year of Faith

Photo: Dr. Steven Meyer, STD, SLTChristians are called to seriously reflect on the content of their faith, examine their lives and give witness of their faith to others. Dr. Steven Meyer, STD, SLT, assistant professor of theology for the University of St. Thomas School of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary, will discuss how the writings of the late Cardinal Avery Dulles can answer complex questions for our culture today.

He will give a free lecture on “Testimony and Faith in the Year of Faith” at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 in Doherty Library, 1100 West Main St.

Meyer said a young adult can learn from the theology of Dulles that the Gospels are, in part, testimonies, and they give witness to the words and deeds of Jesus.

“Testimonies to faith seem to bear more fruit in evangelization than arguments because they are personal,” Meyer said. “More practically, a young person could take the witness of Cardinal Dulles himself.”

Meyer tells how Dulles, as a young man, went to Harvard, was an atheist and was almost expelled for partying during his freshman fall semester. He settled down academically and eventually came to believe that God existed during his years as a medieval history major.

Meyer said Dulles’ parents were Presbyterian, but Dulles decided he would not return to his childhood religious faith and became a Roman Catholic, which was not a hip move in the eyes of the East Coast elite in the 1940s. Meyer said Dulles, to explain his reasons for coming to faith in general and Catholicism in particular, wrote an autobiographical reflection, "A Testimonial to Grace,” while in the U.S. Navy.

Meyer challenges people to follow Dulles’ example and think deeply about questions of faith.

“If a young college student or young adult today gave a testimonial as to why they believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, etc., it would relate with others such as persons their age, persons who had the same experience, persons who are questioning the meaning of life, persons questioning the existence of God, or persons questioning the credibility of the Bible and the Church,” Meyer said. “As such, testimonials would be effective in the ‘new evangelization.’ A young adult should ask questions such as: ‘Do I have authentic faith? Why?’ ‘How has faith changed me?’ ‘Is my life better because of faith?’ ‘From what sources did I acquire faith?’”

Meyer will discuss these ideas in depth during his lecture. For more information about the event, call 713-525-2192.

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