Posted by: sisterbernice | May 28, 2010

Thinking about faith

As I read over my posts, I wonder – where am I going? 

I have no plan other than to pray every Friday.  But, I think there are themes in what I’ve written so far that I need to pay attention to.  The one that has always been a theme of mine but one that I didn’t realize I was writing about each week  is faith.  Faith is a fundamental concept and reality to me.  When people ask what faith are you?  I say Catholic.  Is Catholic a faith or religion?  Is there a difference?  In my way of thinking, there is no difference for I don’t see the church as an “institution”, a sociological category.  I see the Church as the body of Christ living from moment to moment, year by year, decade by decade, century by century.  I find the newspapers and people of goodwill who talk about the Church in terms of institutional ideas and organizational frameworks to be annoying, especially those that want to change church structures.  “How they devalue their faith” is what I think when I read them. 

I don’t think I’m being arrogant or a know it all when I say this.  I always have to ask myself this question -I’ve admitted to this flaw in a past post and suppose that it is also a theme of mine.  It is part of the implied struggle I have with pride.  So, I have to question whether I’m wrong to make such a judgemental statement on people who are doing the best they can.  But I do think they devalue their, and my, faith life and experience.  For example, the womanpriest movement:  as a woman who has benefitted greatly from the woman’s movement and who thinks one reason she is not listened to by priests is because she is a woman, I sympathize with women wanting to gain access to this man’s world.  Only, I don’t think it is a man’s world.  It is Christ’s world and we are all welcome at the table.  The priesthood truly is a re-enactment of Christ’s activities.  If one believe’s Jesus is divine and a revolutionary, he could have thrown off all cultural baggage 2000 years ago.  He didn’t.  Why?  Why did he leave us this model? I don’t know but accepting it means to trust-to have faith even if we don’t like it or don’t understand. 

Trust is the essential ingredient of faith.  Mistrust is very real.  Why do we mistrust?  We find people to be untrustworthy.  And since we find this often enough we actually start from a stance of mistrust over trust.  The psychologists out there are recalling their Eric Erickson right now.  Trust and mistrust need to be balanced.  This is true of the human world but even Erickson place a high value on trust in transcendence.   Trusting the Lord means overcoming our instinctive, natural and experiential mistrust to have a real relationship with the Lord.  It requires that we also become trustworthy to him – a daunting thought.  How untrustworthy I am.

How untrustworthy abusers were and are – both in their human relationships and their spiritual one with the Lord.  How the Lord weeps again at the betrayal shown him.  He does not weep for himself but for his Father, for the abuser, and for the abused.  Justice is his, says the Lord.  And I have faith in this.  It’s hard but I do. 

Having real faith – that is always our challenge but it is especially the challenge of this moment in time.  And so, I added Friday abstinence of meat to my activities today.  Like many American Catholics, I only practice this during Lent.  Why? when it has never really been dropped as something we are supposed to do.   The only answer I have is to make our lives easier.  Has it? I don’t think so for we have one less reason each week to think about faith, to practice faith, to be faithful.  We take our children faithfully to sports practices so they can get better and we neglect the things that will make them and us better people.  I have added abstinence to practice my faith in hopes that it will also be an offering of  penance to help heal the wounds caused by the sex abuse scandal.  Next week I will attend our parish’s monthly Eucharistic adoration.  I hope you will to and I hope those of you who have perpetual or weekly adoration will go more often.

I continue my prayer practices discussed in previous posts.


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