Sunday, May 1, 2011

Believing is Seeing

Of the many traits that I admire about the monastics, one of the more outstanding is the pace and rhythm of their days, and for that matter their entire lives. The waking, praying, work, and study, gives a sense of structure and order to what can be a challenging life. And even when prayer is not easy, or "holy" is not a feeling, they continue to celebrate the Eucharist, pray, and work. Father Henri Nouwen wrote a reflection many years ago about his experience with the Trappist monks in New England. They became frustrated, distracted, angry, and even doubtful in matters of faith. But the routine was important for them in all of this.

While Thomas' inquiry is important, it also recalls that faith is a leap into the unknown. Men and women who come for marriage, people who profess religious vows, and young men at the time of their ordination, say 'Yes' in a marvelous way to a lifestyle of the unknown. They trust in God, and in the love God has reveled to them. It is in engaging in life that they come to discover the reality of God and the faithfulness of God. What response do we make to the Lord for all that the Lord has done for us.

That has to be our faith response. We follow the way of Jesus Christ in the midst of pain, frustration, and even in the middle of 'un-holy' moments. The theologian Karl Rahner stated that we are people of the Spirit, who are walking in a land that is not of the Spirit. So not only do we feel awkward at times, we cannot readily perceive God in the way we would like to. So we remain focused on the Gospel truth and the power of the resurrection.

Saint Paul will remind us that we "Walk by faith, not by sight" in our relationship with God and with the world. That prayer, work, and study routine keeps us orientated to what really matters and is of value in our lives. St. John Paul II reminded his hearers of the words of our Lord, "Do not be afraid." This is something we can take home with us.

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