I saw some feeble ambition and cronyism and I felt outside of that which was preached. It was only later I began to see that I was blaming people for being people, and transferring that blame to the very hope for transcendence that these people had in their hearts. I was looking at people and blaming them for their hope and prayers even if they could not manage to live up to them. One cannot do that without in some way lessening themselves. Yes, they failed within the church, but that did not mean I did not fail outside it. And many times. And leaving it was no guarantee of having success.
In fact much of what people on the left believe I believe as well. And much what they desire I desire also. But I feel they cannot achieve these things without faith. I realized I did not agree with the faithful (or at least all they said), so much as disagree with the unfaithful (or those who say they do not have faith).
Faith, I know, is pretty simple, and that is why it is considered at times simple-minded. But it is not. Nothing anyone has yet argued has convinced me that what intellectuals consider simple-minded is not the clarity required for the sublime.
Faith will never answer the question of why. But faith in some way proves it.
Faith passes all understanding, and as Saint Ambrose said, he did not understand so he would have faith, he had faith so he would understand.
When one has commended themselves for forgiving those who have done them wrong, they are ready for the sterner test, to forgive those they themselves have humiliated, cheated, and betrayed. This means we have to admit we cheated and betrayed, and it is usually done to people we do not think worthy. Why? Well, many times they loved us more than we loved them. So we, because of their love, believed we were better than they were.
Faith in God helps us diminish the mimic inside us… As Rene Girard has said about the mimic, Christ knew that no one would throw the first stone, but that everyone would throw the second… We are all mimics, and we mimic those who are more powerful. Power never seeks liberty for those it controls. It only seeks control.
To become liberated through faith is to not say there is no sin, but to be able to lessen its tendencies over ourselves. To lessen the mimic that exploits and forces us to try and be like others. And in my mind the only way we become liberated of this is through faith.
What Fred Cogswell once said [in a folk song] sums up all of man’s hopes and dreams: “Over these prison walls I would fly.”
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” – Browning
Only faith could save the desperate, I guess that’s why Stalin opened the churches.
I have discovered that with faith the world is absolute and true. Faith has not guided me away from sin and wrong, never that, but away from what I had once believed in, that liberty was bought with power, and toward a more astonishing recognition of the sacred in our midst.
I know from experience that the Something we pray to is well worth it. Something has always kept its promise no matter how strange it comes about. Made the lame walk and yes, the blind see.
-David Adams Richards