THE OPEN PATH FOR JESUS
More than a few practicing Christians understand their faith as only an «obligation». There is a pattern of beliefs that one «ought» to accept; there’s also a list of laws that one «ought» to observe, though some don’t understand very well so many demands on the part of God; lastly there are some religious practices that one «ought» to fulfill, albeit in a routine manner.
This way of understanding and living our faith generates a type of tiresome Christianity, without desire for God and without any creativity or passion to spread our faith. It’s enough to «fulfill». This religion has nothing attractive at all; it becomes a heavy burden to endure; more than a few find themselves allergic to it. Simone Weil isn’t on the wrong track when she writes that «Where the desire to encounter God is lacking, there won’t be believers there, but only poor caricatures of people who are driven to God by fear or by interest».
In the early Christian communities they lived thing differently. Christian faith wasn’t understood as a «religious system». They called it «the way» and they put it forward as the most certain way to live with meaning and hope. It’s said that it’s a «new and living way» that «has been inaugurated by Jesus for us», a way that we run «with our eyes fixed on Jesus» (Hebrews 10,20; 12,2).
It’s very important to be aware that faith is a journey and not a religious system. And in a journey there’s a bit of everything: joyful march and moments of searching, testing that must be overcome and fallbacks, unavoidable decisions, doubts and questions. It’s all part of the path: even the doubts that can be more stimulating that quite a few certainties and securities that are held routinely and simplistically.
Each one must make their own journey. Each one is responsible for the «adventure» of one’s life. Each one has their own rhythm. No one needs to force anything. In the Christian path there are steps: people can live through different moments and situations. What’s important is «to walk», not get stuck, listen to the call that makes us all live with more dignity and happiness. This can be the best way of «preparing the way of the Lord».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf