Faith has taken on many images in the ‘information generation.’ Images which equate faith with assent to facts, doctrine, or dogma. Images which equate faith with ‘being a good person, helping the poor.’ Faith (or the attached religion) is also portrayed by antagonists as ‘the opium of the masses,’ or the fairy tales of the superstitious and unenlightened. Faith, moreover, has been relegated to the sidelines, no more an essential part of the efficacy of society.
But worst of all, faith is portrayed as a complicated web of beliefs, rites, and unhealthy denials, which lead to the shallow pool of prejudice, exclusiveness, paranoia, fear, and unhappiness.
But nothing could be farther from the Truth .
Faith, in its simple seed, is an encounter with the Living God. And like all seeds it grows in the simple direction of upward growth. Catholic-Christian faith, moreover, is the simple encounter of the humble and repentant human person, with the Merciful answer to all his, or her, problems in the Word, face, and Incarnation of God, Jesus Christ. In, and through, relationship with Jesus, the simple Spirit of Love permeates every aspect of the believer in the free and unearned grace of faith.
From this very simple seed, planted by the Loving God, the unfathomable depths of goodness, beauty and truth, within the human person emerges. Far from prejudice, exclusiveness, paranoia, fear, and unhappiness, springs the renewal of the human heart, mind, and soul, in the simple faith in Jesus Christ reborn in the unselfish ‘we’ of communion in the saints in God’s Church. True Catholic-Christian faith takes the simple, yet passioned, path of the Messiah in ‘agape’ love which seeks not self-gratification, but unity and communion within the Body of Christ. Simple faith, living faith, brings the unfathomable depth of beauty and beatitude in both a vertical relationship with God, personally, and a horizontal relationship with God, in His Body the Church.
Simple faith takes on a Cruciform depth.
Simple faith also plunges the faithful, joyfully, filled with hope in Resurrection, in the Mission of the Messiah. Salvation history becomes the simple, narrow path of the believer, the apostolate of the disciple of Apostolic faith. Simple faith must evangelize. Simple faith must share. Simple faith must heal. Simple faith must forgive and reconcile.
Simple faith, cleansed of the barnacles of popular culture, brings depth to Truth in Creation, salvation, and eternal life. This means that the Universe is not a meaningless entity, void of meaning and purpose. Contrarily, the Universe is part of God’s Sacramental and Revelation-reality. The Sacred Liturgy is a participation in heaven immersing itself in earth, eternity in time, through the Blood of the Lamb of God. Sacraments are portals of grace. Prayer is real communication with the Transcendent. And morality counts.
Faith is simple, but also full.
Finally, simple faith is not an invention of complex man. It is not a clever invention, not a right, not a personal weapon to wield for power and influence. Simple faith is a gift from the simplicity of Divine Love. Simple faith comes from He who comes before us. Simple faith comes from Eternal Wisdom, which though simple, transcends all of man’s passing complexities. Simple faith is an immersion into the depth of God’s Love in Jesus Christ. Simple faith is baptism, which brings us to the Cross, and saves us in the Body and Blood of the Lamb.
Here, in simple faith, our hope in the Risen One rests in a joy which transcends all ‘happiness,’ in the inclusive Love of the Creator and Redeemer of all.