Photo by Michael Swan

Propping up the faith

  • June 25, 2015

Some Catholic friends and I recently had a discussion on the constant renewal of faith being necessary for faith to be truly faithful.

A woman offered up an intensely self-critical testimony about her frustration at how much she must struggle to keep her faith a matter of vital assent rather than mere acquiescence.

“It’s like every day I have to keep bringing myself back to a faith that’s alive,” she said. “Sometimes I ask myself: Why should it have to be so hard? What’s wrong with me?”

There was the kind of shifting-on-chairs that occurs when someone has asked a question that applies to everyone in the group. For days, I couldn’t stop asking her question of myself. I was stuck in traffic when the answer came to me, and the answer that came was: nothing. There was nothing wrong with her or me or anyone else who needs to come back to the faith every day of every year.

What’s wrong, it struck me, is the belief that there’s something wrong. More specifically, what’s wrong is the foundational belief that the life of faith is somehow different, indeed separated, from the rest of life.

We don’t think there’s anything wrong with us if we need a glass of water to quench our thirst today and again tomorrow. If someone tries to convince us that we need to change our underwear only once a week, we quickly find safer and more hygienic company...

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