Faith Seeking Understanding

The title of this page borrows a phrase from St. Anselm, who described theology as fides quarens intellectum – “faith seeking understanding.”

One of the luminaries of the Church in the Middle Ages, Anselm was a Benedictine monk, Archbishop of Canterbury and a brilliant pioneer of scholasticism, which explored the harmony between faith and reason.

When opening ourselves to receive God’s gift of faith, we are not supposed to check our minds at the door. Rather, God gave us our intellect, our ability to think and reason, to come to know Him ever more deeply.

Our life of faith, therefore, must engage our minds as well. As we grow in our understanding of the truths of faith, we appreciate them more – not simply as factoids that we’ve been taught, but as divine realities that we begin to encounter.

This dynamic interplay between faith and reason was beautifully expressed by St. Augustine, about seven centuries before Anselm:

I believe in order to understand, and I understand, the better to believe.

The posts that serve as a preamble for the study of faith are archived here: