Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Adequate Faith

"If I, as a Christian, believe that my first duty is to love and respect my fellow in his personal frailty and perplexity, in his own unique hazard and need for trust, then I think that the refusal to let him alone, to entrust him to God and his conscience, and the insistence on rejecting them as persons until they agree with me, is simply a sign that my own faith is inadequate.

My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In these depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith. On this level, the division between believer and unbeliever ceases to be so crystal clear. It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity. Everybody is an unbeliever more or less."
~ From "Apologies to an Unbeliever" by Thomas Merton

I printed this out from someone's blog and have had it up on my wall of quotes for a while now. I read it at least once a day. I want to love and respect my fellow human being as much as I want to receive it. I fall short yet I know my heart desires to be changed so that I can live it instead of simply reading it. One of the biggest gifts I've received since becoming Catholic is knowing that living it out is what matters. And also the hope that it can be.

I trust that God, who has brought me this far, will continue to do his good work in me. My prayer life these days seems to be one of almost total silence. Other than praying, "I can't do this on my own strength." In the silence I'm finding an underlying peace which is helping me simply rest in where I am. A gift from a God who loves and respects us in our personal frailty and perplexity.

3 comments:

Poor Mad Peter said...

These are awesome (in the right sense) words and thoughts, Hope. I have instinctively realized their truth and tried to live it out (my tongue is continually being shortened by my front teeth), but haven't really seen this concept articulated so beautifully, so concisely, before. Thank you!

Jim said...

"Everybody is an unbeliever more or less."....

What I hear Merton saying is: we all have error in our thinking; and, if that is true, who are we to forcefeed our doctrine as the only truth out there. This I believe; and yet, as much as possible, I need to know that what I'm pursuing is Christ. If that sounds confusing, what it boils down to is: (a) the next step; and (b) a tether stretched from my belly unto His throne. We will be judged, in the end, by our heart...

onionboy said...

Our asking, knocking, seeking never end, not in this life. We are forever and ever saying, Lord, I believe...

O ::thrive luminousmiseries || onionboy.ca