Being born and bred into a church that is so much endowed with rich doctrines and having seen the practice of most of them throughout my life, I think it is in place as I attempt to make a juxtaposition of revelation and doctrines.
Revelation is defined as; “a manifestation of divine truth” and doctrine as; “a belief or tenet especially about theological matters”. I will be quick to say here that doctrines are not only a body of teachings of a religion but also includes its beliefs and principles. In Mathew 16:13-20, an account is given of a conversation that ensued between Jesus Christ and His disciples. In that account, Jesus is believed to have asked His disciples who people say He is. They began telling Jesus who everybody knows Him to be (a general view of who He is). Peter at that point was graced to have been able to tap into a divine knowledge or revelation and would then answer, “Thou art the Christ”, an answer that most people were blind to at the time because it was not an axiom. This, Jesus affirmed in v17. Now it was after Peter had walked in this revelational knowledge of God that Jesus said to him in v19 that He will give him the keys of heaven. Imagine the other disciples had felt jealous and had decided to practice elsewhere the use of this key (binding and loosing), it would not have worked for them because they are not bearers of the key. And by so doing, they would only be practicing it as only a mere doctrine without the divine power behind it given through revelation.
In this text, the power to bind and loose was first given through revelation but through its practice or execution, it becomes a doctrine as it involves the doer’s belief in it. Thus, revelation and doctrines are like marriages; though the couples are two different people, it is necessary that all are present to make it work. When a doctrine is practiced with ignorance of the divine knowledge and insight about it, no results are seen. This can also be likened to attempting to iron without your iron connected to a power source. Irrespective of how much time you spend, there will be no change in the state of the shirt and you will remain standing by the ironing board. The power source should always be in sync with the iron to make the ironing effective. That is only when a change can be seen.
We are fortunate, blessed and privileged as Catholics to have such numbers of doctrines being practiced every day in the church. These doctrines are products of divine revelation from God and through His word. Yet, it’s not rare to find Catholics saying “they cannot feel any fire in the church”. We are able to catch or walk in the revelation or divine insights of the church’s doctrines through prayer, faith, commitment, attentiveness and focus at services where these doctrines are celebrated not to omit the need for personal preparations prior to them. Most people fail to put in this much at masses with no changes being seen in our lives in the church as the resultant. Some of us joined the catechism class for sacraments because most of our age mates are all doing same. We had no personal reason aside this. So the sacraments meant to bestow inward graces unto us become just an act. There ought to be serious attitudinal and behavioral rectifications in our approaches towards the church’s doctrines and practices. It is only then that we can feel the “fire” we desire. Perhaps, just like the iron, we have to reconnect to the source of power.
It is my plea that God grants us all insights into everything done in the church to broaden our faith in Him and In His holy church. May the Lord be with us all.