Saturday, July 9, 2011

It is Hard to Believe

“God’s seed in the world seems ineffectual. The word God speaks in [Is 55:10-11] thus comes in the midst of a cloud of darkness as an encouragement to all who still believe in God’s power; who believe that the world is more than rocky ground in which the seed finds no room to take root…”

Reflection – “Why is it so hard for people to have faith today?” This was the cry of my heart to God in poustinia the other day. While I was thinking of this or that specific individual in my life, my awareness really was global. Why is it so hard for so many to believe in God, in Jesus, in the Church?
‘God’s seed in the world seems ineffectual.’ Ratzinger has addressed this modern loss of faith countless times in his writings. He is well aware of the profound difficulty we have today to believe in the goodness, the trustworthiness, the absolute value and priority of God in our lives. The world seems to be a very rocky ground indeed.
Faith is a matter of receiving this word of God. Elsewhere (and I’m sure I’ll get there on this blog eventually) Ratzinger distinguishes faith as precisely that which we receive from the word of another. Not our own conclusions or reflections or ideas, faith is trusting the word of the other, of the Other who sends this word as a seed into our hearts.
The seed is meant to sprout and grow and bear fruit both in deepening insight and reflection upon reality, and more importantly in lives of hope and love, expressed in apostolic action.
Perhaps it has never been easy, exactly, to believe, and perhaps we simply find it especially hard to believe today because ‘today’ is the only day we know. Whether it's harder now or not, our call is always to clear out the rocks from our own hearts – those horrible modern rocks of cynicism and irony, hedonism and despair, along with the perennial rocks of fear, anger, hatred – and strive to welcome the Seed given to us.
Mary truly does walk among us poor post-moderns as the one who did this, and who can teach us to do this, and who manifests to us the goodness and beauty of doing it. Our hope is that as we receive, or try to receive, the Word, the Seed, the One who comes to us, our own lives slowly begin to glow with that same beauty and goodness. The more this happens, maybe it won’t be quite so hard for so many people to believe.

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