Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Just Believing Is Not Enough
In the Peace Weekly, Question and Answer column, a reader asks: does religion require unconditional belief? A young person who had been looking around for a religion found Catholicism to his liking, but those that introduced him to religion, when he had questions, repeated what the apostle Thomas was told by Jesus: blessed who believe without seeing. Since he has a desire to understand and study, and go deep into what he believes, he wants to know if this is wrong for a Catholic?
Priest columnist answers that the young person has the correct attitude and on the right path. St Thomas, the apostle, despite all that he saw and heard still doubted, and it was this that Jesus was addressing.
Religious people are searching and will do so until death. Spiritual mentors often say: faith is receiving answers but at the same time asking questions. We continue to ask questions and look for answers.
Life is a school always open 24 hours a day, where we learn about love, forgiveness,honesty, fear, patience, adaptation and the like: we are learning to become human. Like the butterfly that sheds its cocoon we leave infancy to become a mature adult.
A person who studies is like a mental wanderer, a person on a voyage of discovery. We see this often in the Scriptures. Abraham in his old age became a wanderer, and we have Jesus sending his disciples on a journey. When we are closed to new ideas and a deeper understanding of our Lord's teachings, we put obstacles in the way to spiritual growth and the movements of the Spirit.
When we close ourselves off from new thoughts and ideas we punish ourselves and even when prayer is devotedly attended, a person loses the joy of life. Many who are sick and near death have written great pieces of literature because they were mentally alert and their hearts still searching, and on fire.
He concludes with the words from Sirach."Wisdom instructs her children and admonishes those who seek her. He who loves her loves life; those who seek her out win her favor. He who holds her fast inherits glory; wherever he dwells, the Lord bestows blessings" Sirach (4:11- 13 ).