May 25, 2010

Belief and Trust

In preparing to move, I always come across old journals. I don't sit down and read them, but I usually take a glance, just to note what were my spiritual concerns at a particular time. It's often quite interesting. Last night I read a couple of entries from about two years after my baptism. I was very worked up about belief. Did I really believe what the faith proposes? Or was it just that I had become infatuated with the ideas or--even worse--the idea of believing in them?

Somehow, without noticing it, I seem to have moved beyond this problem. Is it because my faith is stronger now? Am I more convicted of the faith than I was? I don't know.

I think that in my earlier years in the faith, the concepts of its truths and my evaluation of my belief in them were all too enmeshed. It was as if my believing it made it true or not. I see this in people sometimes; because they don't know how to believe in God, they decide that there is no God. A non sequitur, for sure. As if my believing in something has any bearing on whether it is the case or not.

Trust is part of it, too. When I was younger I could only see how it was up to me alone to make the intellectual assent, to believe. Now I realize that there is a trust involved that includes other people. I believe in the resurrection, for sure, but it isn't just because I have been able to make a personal intellectual assent, but because I trust the apostolic witness that has given me the first reports of this Event. At the heart of it, I think this is what it means to be a Catholic rather than an Evangelical or a Pentecostal; we live in a community of spiritual interpretation, trusting the witness handed down to us as a key to interpret our own experience.


ben in denver said...

My expereince since conversion is similar to yours. I'm not sure if I'm a better believer now than I was before, but I am certainly more of a Catholic. I'm far more incorporated into the the Church that I was years ago. And while I do have a private faith, that is not where my faith is the strongest. I am stonger in my membership in the Church, and it is the faith of the Church in Christ that sustains me.

I spend a lot of energy praying to and with the saints, and they help me to make their faith my faith.

Sara said...

I do feel strengthened by the witness of other believers, past and future. But it is hard to step into a faith community for the first time ever and then to feel surrounded by scandal, disbelief and what looks like general uncaring. It's starting to feel very lonely to believe what the faith proposes. It would be okay with me if this is due to immaturity in the faith because I'd really like to know that it gets better.

ben in denver said...


It does get better. You must remeber that you are now part of the communion of saints that sustains the faith of those in your parish that are full of scandal, disbelief and uncarring. Ours is a large church and it is full of sinners, including me.

It may help you to spend some time with some saints of the 20th century, I particularly like the Franciscan Maximillian Kolbe, or it may help to visit some of the unknown saints from your own community by making a prayerful visit to your local catholic cemetery.

If you want to meet some living saints start volunteering with a catholic pro-life group. You will certainly find some there, and they will strengthen you. But whatever you do, expect the Enemy will place obstacles in your way to sanctity, don't be discouraged.