Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (Jn. 14:9).'"
Everything begins here: Jesus is the center of everything. He is the Word through Whom all things came into being. Because all truth is, therefore, God's Truth, we could imagine Jesus being at the center of a big wheel with spokes (like a wagon wheel or bicycle). Each spoke in the wheel is a doctrine of the Faith. Which doctrine do we begin with? In some sense, the order is less important than connecting everything back to the center: Jesus Christ
Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, if we become disconnected from Him, we are broken and can do nothing.
Making the Right Distinctions
Will's favorite maxim is attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas:
SELDOM AFFIRM. NEVER DENY. ALWAYS DISTINGUISH.
Seldom Affirm - It is important to not affirm everything that comes along, because no human being has all the answers. Nor is any human being free of error (with the exception of the Blessed Mother). So, we should not be quick to say, "That's right!" or "Exactly!" or "I completely agree!" - If someone recited the Creed, then sure we should shout AMEN!
Never Deny - Heresies are mostly true with an admixture of poison. The poison is deadly and must be vehemently rejected. But, if we deny completely the position of a heretic, schismatic, or the imprudent, then we will inadvertently be throwing away the good with the bad.
Always Distinguish - This brings us to the final point: we MUST seek to make the right distinctions. Acknowledge what is good, challenge what is wrong, but be careful in sifting these things out!
Mary - Faith and Obedience to Christ and His Church
Obedience comes from the Latin verb "audire" which means "to hear." The prefix "ob" means "toward." And so, the word obedience means to "hear toward" or simply: "listen."
It is vital for our salvation to hear the voice of Jesus and listen. The Blessed Virgin Mary said simply at the Wedding Feast: "Listen to Him." She, in her entire person, models this for us all. She is the first disciple of her Holy Son, from the first moment of her "yes" to the message of the Angel Gabriel.
She hears the message. She is afraid. Yet, she says, "Let is be done unto me according to thy word." She is our model of faith and obedience.
Today, the Church speaks still with the authoritative voice of Jesus Christ through the perennial Magisterium. Individual clergymen can have wrong opinions and even misspeak. But the Holy Spirit guides and guards the Church from error in Her teaching.
Using sinful men as instruments, our Lord Jesus Christ makes the Church holy, governs the Church, teaches authoritatively, and preaches the Gospel to the ends of the Earth! Thanks be to God for the unfailing, divine, and life-giving one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
We must seek to listen charitably with obedient and faithful ears to the competent authorities when they teach, preach, and govern. This does not mean that we cannot have our own opinions or even disagree on prudential applications of certain principles or certain practices. But we must always be faithful to Christ and His Church, with Mary as our model, guide, and Mother.