COMPANION ON THE WAY
There are many ways of hindering the true faith. There’s the attitude of the «fanatic», who grabs hold of a collection of beliefs without allowing themselves to ever be questioned by God and without ever listening to anyone who could question their position. Theirs is a closed faith where welcome and hearing the Mystery is lacking, and where pride abounds. This faith doesn’t free from mental rigidity nor does it help to believe, since it’s not nourished by the true God.
There’s also the position of the «skeptic» who doesn’t seek or question, since they no longer wait for anything from God, or from life, or from themselves. Theirs is a sad and burnt-out faith. The dynamism of trust is lacking in it. Nothing is worth bothering about. Everything is reduced to keeping on living and nothing else matters.
There’s also the posture of the «indifferent», who no longer are interested in the meaning of life or in the mystery of death. Their life is pragmatism. They’re only interested in what can bring them security, money or well-being. God says less and less to them each day. In reality, what good is it to believe in God?
There’s also those who feel themselves «guardians of the faith», as if it consists in a «capital», received at Baptism and which is there, no one knows exactly where, without having to bother more about it. This faith isn’t a source of life, but an «inheritance», or «custom» received from others. They could be separated from it with hardly any problem.
There’s also the «infantile faith» of those who don’t believe in God, but believe in those who talk about God. They’ve never had the experience of dialoguing sincerely with God, of seeking God’s face or of surrendering themselves to God’s mystery. It’s enough for them to believe in the hierarchy or trust in «those who know about those things». Their faith isn’t a personal experience. They talk about God «from hearsay».
In all these attitudes what’s lacking is the most essential part of Christian faith: the personal encounter with Christ. The experience of walking through life accompanied by someone alive on whom we can count, and in whom we can confide. Only he can make us be alive, love, and hope in spite of our errors, failures and sins.
According to the Gospel story, the disciples of Emmaus told «what had happened to them on the way». They were walking saddened and discouraged, but something new awoke in them when they meet up with a Christ close by and full of life. True faith always is born of the personal encounter with Jesus as «companion on the way».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf