Weekly Readings 21/08/2011

From Fr. Laurence Freeman ‘ First Sight (Continum, 2011), pp. 34-35.

Faith is a way – a way of life, a way of behaving over time- by which we give.  But if we see it only giving, only as commitment and sacrifice, we will find it hard to grow in the many ways that faith enables us to become more fully human.

We will only see the hard side of faith not the bright side.  Because in faith, we also receive.  There is mutuality of exchange in faith because it is a personal act that enhances our entire personal experience.  It’s not just cold objectivity; it’s warm inter-subjectivity.  It brings us into deeper relationship with others.  Part of this mutuality may mean being put to the test.  Often we test the faith that we feel has been put in us: How much do you really love me? If you really saw me at my worst you’d withdraw – so here, see the monster I really am.

Perhaps we are only convinced that someone has put their faith in us when they freely lay down their life for us.  Maybe – from a psychological point of view – this alsoapplies in the ground of all relationship to God as well.  The laying down of our lives for each other in love is the consummation of a significant act of faith.  We may believe in God but it’s
always harder to believe that God believes in us.

Faith is process and this process comes to shape and give character to the personality.  There are people we know whom we recognize as faithful people, faithful in the promises they make and above all remaining faithful to us through difficult times.  Such people are usually friendly and well thought of and yet curiously detached and expectant.  They are dependable and they keep loving in the midst of conflict or temptation.  We feel blessed to have such people in our lives or even to have met them in passing.  They are recognizable.  But we also know people who are unfaithful, not by malice but because they are simply unable to commit or to be constant. 

They are weak and often know that about themselves.  They try, but then forget what they promised, or surrender to the latest mood.  We are quick to judge others, but who knows what others might think about us? Either way, in faith or in infidelity, by its presence or absence, faith is a moral shaping force in our life; it expresses and determines our moral behavior 

After Meditation, Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude’ , 1956-58"  Farrar Straus and Giroux

Let this be my only consolation, that wherever I am You, my Lord, are loved and praised.

The trees indeed love You without knowing You.  The tiger lilies and corn flowers are there, proclaiming that they love You, without being aware of Your presence.  The beautiful dark clouds ride slowly across the sky musing on You like children who do not know what they are
dreaming of, as they play.  

But in the midst of them all, I know You, and I know of Your presence.  In them and in me I know of the love which they do not know, and, what is greater, I am abashed by the presence of our love in me