I can only speak for myself
When speaking about life, and what it means, each of us can only truthfully speak from our own perspective, or one’s faith path. I really can’t speak for anyone else. For me, the growth in faith, as well as my vocation as a monk has been a slow one. That is not true of many Christians, and that, of course, includes monks. I have known Christians, and others on a different path than me, who more or less walk a straight path. I have a tendency to want to ‘bolt’ when the Lord begins to become more central to my life. By that I mean, that the Lord, through personal experiences, becomes not just some profession of faith, but the deep understanding that it is ‘real’. That our personal relationship is the deepest truth there is.
It is possible to have faith, as well as incredulity at the same time. Wonder and Skepticism can walk together for some of us. The same goes for faith and doubt. For we live in a world of inner tension, and this tension helps us, propels us to make choices, as well as to delve deeper into what our relationship with God means.
While it is true if God does not exist, believers have been deceived, yet the converse is also true. If God exists, then those who deny God, are the ones out of touch with reality. It can’t be resolved. However, if one believes in God, no matter the religion, or the spiritual path, and does not live it out, I believe they are very foolish. For if we do in fact have an aspect of ourselves that is ‘eternal’, then why would we not want to nourish it, develop it, and to mature. We need to be true to ourselves as well as obedient to the graces given to us.
As a Christian, I believe that we have a revelation of God’s infinite, freely given love. God’s nature is love, it is not simply an aspect of His nature. I do believe that “The Word Made Flesh” seeks all of humankind. We are the problem, not God. We understand pain, judgment, punishment, and yes torture. It is no problem believing all of that. We see it everywhere in the world. The way people treat each other, hurt, kill, torture, is commonplace. So it is in many ways easier, and more comfortable to believe that God’s is the same. Since unconditional love is impossible for mankind, even the highest human love will have limits, no matter how hard it would be to reach that limit. I am talking about the love of Mothers and Fathers for their children.
To seek to experience Infinite Love, and to live it out, all of our ‘comfortable’ myths about God have to be let go of. Well according to the song: ‘What if God where one of us’, I can say, God is one of us, but not a slob like us, not petty, or cruel, nor is there an ounce of sadism in God.
Perhaps one of the reasons we are told not to judge is because we simply can’t, we will be wrong in our judgments. So we often judge, but do not love, which as St. Paul says “is the greatest spiritual gift”. We use our image of God, and the use of scripture, to back up our twisted ideas of God.
Yes I do believe in ‘hell’. Though I would rather not. However I do not believe in the ‘Hell’ that we have manufactured and use to curse others, and to at times joyfully damn them to eternal torture. To understand God’s justice is not possible, since the human heart, mind, and soul is not capable of it, any more than it is capable of unconditional love.
This gives me hope, knowing that we are called to allow the love of God to grow in our hearts and that it is for many of us a slow business. That the inner chaos that lives in the human soul takes time for the healing love of Christ Jesus to bring forth spiritual health.
Life is hard, difficult, and yes joyful in many ways as well. God sees the depths of each soul and loves each human being uniquely, infinitely. Praise God for that. We are called to pray for all, to speak the truth in love, and to simply be with those who are on the way as we all are.
Lord, you meet us where we are
Your love O Lord is not needy,
given freely, without reserve,
the compassionate ardent lover of souls,
so you seek us in our moments,
some of joy, and pleasure,
others of pain, loss, and fear,
within each event in our lives
you meet us where we are,
help each heart to open to your love,
and not be deterred by the weakness
and yes, evil, of your followers.—Br.MD