At any rate, I was bemused when coming across this back in the early months of the 2005 archives. It expresses perfectly a subject that arose at Sancta Sanctis where Enbrethiliel was musing about cradle Catholics versus converts, simultaneously bemoaning the loss of Catholic culture to those who acquire their Catholicism mostly through book larnin'. Or something like that. The comments, to which I was also an enthusiastic party, have been lively.
So you can see why this really spoke to me when I read it.
We must never allow ourselves to think we have had sufficient formation. We must never be satisfied with the amount of knowledge about Jesus Christ and his teaching that we have so far acquired. Love always seeks to know the beloved better. In professional life, doctors, say, or architects or lawyers, though they may be good at their profession never think they have finished studying once they have qualified: they go on learning -- always. And so it is with the Christian. We can apply Saint Augustine's maxim to doctrinal formation: Did you say "enough?" You have perished.
The quality of the instrument -- for that is what we all are, instruments in God's hands -- can improve, it can develop new possibilities. Each day we can love a little more and give better example. But we will not achieve this if our understanding is not continually nourished by sound doctrine. I cannot say how often I have been told that some old Irishman saying his rosary is holier than I am, with all my study. I daresay he is. For his own sake, I hope he is. But if the only evidence is that he knows less theology than I, then it would not convince him, because all those rosary-loving, tabernacle-loving old Irishmen I have ever known ... were avid for more knowledge of the faith. It does not convince me, because while it is obvious that an ignorant man can be virtuous, it is equally obvious that ignorance is not a virtue; men have been martyred who could not have stated a doctrine of the church correctly, and martyrdom is the supreme proof of love: yet with more knowledge of God they would have loved him more still. (F. J. Sheed, Theology for Beginners)
The so-called plain man's faith ("I believe it all, even though I don't know what it is") is not sufficient for a Christian in the world who is confronted each day by confusion and a lack of light regarding Christ's doctrine -- the only doctrine that saves -- and is daily encountering ethical problems, both new and old, at work, in his family life, and in the environment in which he lives.
In Conversation with God: Ordinary Time Weeks 1-12