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Unbelief

“The father of the young man in our gospel lesson had surely rejected simplistic views of faith long ago…But instead of falling into complete despair and cynicism, the father had at least enough faith to say to Christ, “’but if You can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”‘ In response to the Savior’s words, “’If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes,’ the man cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”‘ With an integrity fueled by his years of heartbreaking pain over the wretched plight of his son, the man knew that he stood before Christ with less than perfect faith. He did not even try to pretend that he possessed a sentimental spirituality that shied away from hard truths. No, he named truthfully the condition of his soul even as he entrusted the young man’s healing to the Savior as best he could. In response to the father’s painfully honest plea, Christ healed the man’s son.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“Unbelief is a soul-wound whose location likely lies much deeper than the fiction of choice. It is often hidden deep within the hell that has formed in the pit of a soul’s shame. That wound will require Christ-in-Hades probing and questing, and perhaps fierce battles that are hidden from our knowledge. When the Church proclaims, “Christ is risen, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life,” it is deeply important to remember that we have the souls of those so wounded in mind.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“…our secular age is haunted, and always has been. Certainly belief is contested and contestable in our secular age. There’s no going back. Even seeking enchantment will always and only be reenchantment after disenchantment. But almost as soon as unbelief becomes an option, unbelievers begin to have doubts — which is to say, they begin to wonder if there isn’t something “more.” They worry about the shape of a world so flattened by disenchantment…Taylor’s analysis of this point is deeply existential. As he puts it, while the world is disenchanted for “us moderns,” we nonetheless also experience a sense of loss and malaise in the wake of such disenchantment.” (Charles Taylor, James K.A. Smith)


“I do not think of unbelief as a result of reason or philosophical principle. I have spent too many years observing my own heart and listening to the thoughts of others to accept such a simplistic notion of how we behave as human beings. One person professes faith on the ground of “reasonable” arguments, while another, on similar grounds, professes unbelief. The fault is not in the reasoning. Reasoning is, in fact, something we largely do “after the fact.” Indeed, this psychological reality has itself been the subject of study and has been shown to be largely true. Reason is one of the sounds we make after the fact of the heart. It is a symptom of something else and we do one another a deep injustice when we reduce faith and unbelief to something they are not.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“What makes people truly holy is not a perpetual inner state of joy, peace, hope and faith. It is caring for the needy when they themselves feel spiritually abandoned. It is offering a smile and a word of comfort to someone who is dying and otherwise would die alone. It is wiping saliva from their mouth, caring for their intimate and often disagreeable bodily needs, bearing the smell of their leprous flesh, or preparing their wasted body for an imminent burial. These are the kinds of things Mother Teresa did, day and night, for many decades. To her, God may have felt absent. She may have agonized over her inability to perceive His hand as it opened to receive the souls of those for whom she cared. But in her pain and loneliness, she manifested the most important virtue of all: to believe despite her unbelief, and to shape her life accordingly.” (Fr. John Breck)


#FrPhilipLeMasters #FatherStephenFreeman #CharlesTaylor #JamesKASmith #FrJohnBreck


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