I have been in conversation with the Lord on and off today about belief. I sometimes have very dark periods where I don’t think I have faith, yet, even in these states I believe. How can that be?
I love Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity when he talks about doubt and faith co-existing. I think this is very true for believers and answers my question. Knowing many non-believers I think that it is true for them as well.
My doubt thoughts were prompted today by yesterday’s prayer and my contemplation of the creed. I believe all of the creed. But in contemplation, doubt creeps in with questions like – well the Virgin birth is made up, that can’t happen. Thoughts then jump around and more anthropological questions enter the head. Thoughts like – Man evolved and why did God put Neanderthal man here before us – explain that one. ETC… One can go on endlessly like this.
I suppose in many ways the question is – what is the nature of God? We personify God. We call him a person in the Trinity. But is he a person? Jesus was a person. Is He God? If God is Trinity, what does that mean? And if we allow God to be God, then all the answers are present before us – especially if we talk to him.
As to the Virgin birth – let’s just assume that ancient people aren’t stupid or naive. They wouldn’t have believed a virgin birth story either. They would have questioned, ostracized, etc. Perhaps they did and that was part of Mary’s suffering. Yet, this tenet of faith held, was believed, continues to be believed. Why? Mary didn’t perform miracles, she was us in all things except original sin. What does that mean, how does one prove that?
Not being able to prove or disprove the claim doesn’t impact my faith. My faith is that there is a God and by definition God can do what God wills. I can’t prove faith, I am not a theologian or apologist. I can only reason with myself about claims, counter claims, etc. Why do I believe? – I have had many personal encounters with the Lord. I cannot explain these encounters away although others would and can. Others can quote endless psychological and anthropological texts to me. Still, they cannot explain my experiences away. These are and were real. And, when others do try to explain my experiences away, these people become the very thing they despise – the thought police, the agents of control, identity thieves. Interesting isn’t it? Perhaps that was why Mary was believed – she had an experience which was recognized by others who had experiences. She was tested and stayed true to her experience. Maybe that is the key to understanding belief and non-belief?
In tonight’s search I came across the Angelus (here)- not something that I regularly pray, perhaps I should.
V. The angel spoke God’s message to Mary
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit
Hail Mary …
V. “I am the lowly servant of the Lord:
R. Let it be done to me according to your word.”
Hail Mary …
V. And the Word became flesh
R. and lived among us.
Hail Mary …
V. Pray for us, holy Mother of God,
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Lord, fill our hearts with your grace:
once, through the message of an angel
you revealed to us the incarnation of your Son;
now, through His suffering and death
lead us to the glory of His resurrection.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.