June 20, 2012

Faith, Love and the Truth

Some people believe that faith implies doubt.  For them to live by faith is nothing more than the belief in a pleasant myth that helps one get through life.  Faith is to be believed when it is convenient and we never inconvenience anyone by our belief.  But to live in a fantasy like this, this is foolishness.  Unlike fantasy, the truth is inconvenient and inconveniences everyone who wants to be true.  If we do not believe in the truth, we believe in nothing.  And to believe in nothing, this is to live without anything really to live for.   This is why faith cannot be a pleasant myth to which I sometimes have recourse so that I feel better about life.   Faith either seeks the truth and cleaves to what is true with certitude, or it is utterly useless.

Faith, love and truth converge for the Christian.  If we think about our own experience in friendship, when someone discloses their love for us, we know in an instant whether or not to believe the declaration.   The authenticity of the person is evidence of the authenticity of what they have revealed.  Such a declaration, such a disclosure, such a revelation must be judged to be true or it means nothing.   There are few things in life more beautiful than to know that you can believe someone who discloses his or her heart.  When you know you can believe in someone, you do not doubt them.  You believe in them. This is what husbands and wives must do for each other.  It is what parents and children must do for each other.  To protect this exchange of love and promote it, it must not be doubted.   Instead, in all these relationships, we believe in each other, even when we fall short and disappoint.  Christain faith has this form of belief.  It is believing what God has disclosed to us about His Heart.  The difference is that our hope in God does not disappoint because God never falls short.   He goes all the way.

To believe, for the Christian, implies a claim about the love of God.  To believe implies no doubt about this love and its demands.  To believe means to be willing to fight for this love, no matter the cost.  This battle we wage not only for ourselves but also for our friends - and to be a Christian means to be ready and willing to lay down one's own life that one's friends might know the truth about the love of God.  Yes to dare to be a Christian is to pledge oneself to relentless battle in this life, but this battle of faith more than any other struggle that life throws at us is worthy of our lives and devotion.

The great saints, the martyrs of truth, men like John the Baptist, they keep before us the truth.  In the battle of faith which is a battle for the truth and for love, we like them can discover the invinible certitude that God provides.  Today more than ever in the presence circumstances of our culture and society, we who dare to call ourselves Catholic must come to believe with invincible certitude that the Christian claim and commitment to the truth is true.   It is the inheritance of the saints to be affored the opportunity to stand for truth against tyranny, to share in their invincible certitude in new ways in our times.

We have faith in the truth because we believe the claim of the One who declared God's love to an alienated world that needs love.  We have faith in the truth about who God is because the Way, the Truth and the Life died for our sake out of love and for love.  Since this is true, we cannot limit our faith to the inside of a Church building or the privacy of our homes.   Because God's love is true, we are compelled to announce it everywhere and everyplace.  Those who are oppressed by the misery of not knowing that they are loved have a right to know they are loved beyond all measure.  It is our sacred duty to announce from the rooftop, in the public square, the the marketplace of ideas that every man and woman is called by love and is awaited by love, that in this inestimable love the true meaning of our lives is to be discovered.  It is by standing on this truth that accounts for our hope and in our hope any readiness on our part to put our fortunes, reputations and lives on the line for God's love.  It is by taking our stand with this truth about God - this truth about love! - that we at last find our freedom.   Such faith does not imply doubt.  It vanquishes it.