John of the Cross on Faith

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  “If one should describe to a man that was born blind, and has never seen any color, what is meant by a white color or by a yellow, he would understand it but indifferently, however fully one might describe it to him; for, as he has never seen such colors or anything like them by which he may judge them, only their names would remain with him; for these he would be able to comprehend through the ear, but not their forms or figures, since he has never seen them. Even so is faith with respect to the soul; it tells us of things which we have never seen or understood, nor have we seen or understood aught that resembles them, since there is naught that resembles them at all. And thus we have no light of natural knowledge concerning them, since that which we are told of them bears no relation to any sense of ours; we know it by the ear alone, believing that which we are taught, bringing our natural light into subjection and treating it as if it were not. For, as Saint Paul says, Fides ex auditu. (faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word). As though he were to say: Faith is not knowledge which enters by any of the senses, but is only the consent given by the soul to that which enters through the ear.”   From, Book II, Chapter 3, “The Collected Works of St John of the Cross”, Kavanaugh and Rodriquez, 1964. Pages 110-111.

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