Opening the Heart to Reality
If you don’t learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian. When they posed this question to us – why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears.
Be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry. --Pope Francis
I met a man who told me that he has been a devout Christian all of his life. Then his wife die about 15 years ago and he lost his faith. Actually, he left because he believed that ‘God killed his wife, took her from him”.
There are many ideas about ‘God’ that people have, I have them, and I am sure that they are wrong. Not because there is not some truth in what I believe, it is my level of understanding which causes trouble.
A child, when blessed with loving parents, may get very angry with them when they do something that goes against what it wants. The son or daughter may even ‘hate’ the parents for a time, or have some sort of tantrum, but because the parents are loving, and are patient, but hold their ground, eventually the child returns and learns that manipulation does not work.
Suffering, loss, pain and disease, and eventually death happens to all of us. So for me these events in no way bring doubt into my belief in God. Nor does it bring up uncertainty about God being loving. However, that does not mean that I understand, or even like it. Yet life goes on. God, I believe, like any loving parent waits patiently for us to return.
Prayer is not really about begging God for ‘things, but about allowing the life of God to become more apparent to us, which brings healing. Suffering as awful as it is, is not the end of the story. Jesus had his moments during his passion. The Father seemed silent when Jesus asked that the ‘cup’ be removed. It was not, it was not according to God’s will. Yet Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, put in prison for a night, tortured, and died. We did it, just as we cause most of the moral suffering in the world. Our cultures, our cities, and our families, are snapshots of our inner, fragmented, and yes sinful lives.
Yet, he rose, he did not ‘sin’ , did not hate, he forgave, and lives within the hearts of those who seek God, but especially in Christians who are hopefully growing into the mystery of our faith. Now a mystery is not something unknowable, but a reality that is infinitely knowable. Yet we have to be open to this journey, we can stop, leave, or turn our backs on the everlasting love of God. In the end, at our deepest level we do choose. We also make small choices every day that lead to that final decision.
Christ Jesus came to save us from ourselves. We become ‘hell’ if we turn our backs on God if we stop seeking and live only for ourselves.
I have ideas on how the world should work, but sometimes do not want to deepen my understanding of how I am the cause of much that is wrong in it. My heart is still hard, I can lack empathy and compassion, and it pains me when I see this. Yet, the grace of God is always there slowly healing my deepest wounds, and so over time, slowly, I do experience my heart softening. There is so much I do not know or understand as I age, but I am happy with that, it leads to inner freedom allowing me to actually live life without demanding it be a certain way.--BrMD