The Paradox of Our Faith

As human beings, we like things to be clear, under control, self-explanatory, or comprehensible. In the day and age where empirical data is deemed to be the only source of trustable data, we cannot see anything much more than what we can see or comprehend. However, physical and empirical data are not the only sources of truth and science, for us who are people of faith, we believe in transcendental, eternal, metaphysical, and everlasting truth set forth by God and His teachings as well. Even though some of these things seem mysterious, and at times, paradoxical at first glance, they are something that requires us to do a lot of reflection, soul-searching, and humbling of ourselves to truly see and appreciate from the viewpoint of God.

First and foremost, we all have to recognize that we do not know everything. As a matter of fact, some of the smartest astrophysicists and scientists cannot explain the fine details of how our universe is operating. There are things like dark matter and energy that they have not fully comprehended yet, and there are new things being discovered every day as we live in the age of space exploration. Furthermore, we are still learning about our very own earth here! There are things that we still do not know about the ocean and the depth of our earth, and there are new discoveries here at our very own planet each day. Many scientists even dared to say that we tend to know more about the moon than the depth of our earth!

Imagine all of that before we come to be feeble recognition that our earth and universe are still finite, created, and limited in comparison to the transcendental, eternal, and infinite wisdom of God. It is often our own personal arrogance and pride that makes us think that everything has to fit our tiny, feeble, and limited intellectual capacity before it can be true. When that happens, we have done nothing else but make God stoops down to us and become our servant instead of us humbling ourselves to love and serve Him in our limited capacity. Pride is to think that we can grasp and understand all of reality and make it fits into our feeble minds while humility is to recognize that true reality is more complex and greater than what we can comprehend.

It takes a lot of humility to recognize that we do not know everything and to go beyond ourselves to really trust in God and His Bridesmaid, the Church. It takes a lot of courage to beyond our finitude and conform ourselves to Him who created us and continue to will our eternal good instead of expecting Him to please us at all costs! If we put it in a relational term, it takes genuine and personal love to discover the person of God each and every day. We are constantly learning new things every day until our journey here on earth is finished, instead of saying that we need to have everything known, explained, and be under control before we can personally choose to whether to love or reject Him. If you do not believe me, just take a moment to imagine how long it takes for us to know a person here on earth, to fall in love with him or her, and to learn and discover new things about the person each and every day.

If we are talking about the complexity of the human person who is finite and created, imagine how much more for God who is the Creator of all things! Therefore, to expect to know and to comprehend His infinite loving wisdom in a short time is impossible, futile, and arrogant. Why? Because it is impossible! Even when we die and reach heaven, we still cannot grasp the infinite beauty and complexity of God because we are limited and finite in our capacity. Therefore, it is important to know that the foundation of faith has to be loving trust instead of self-centered arrogance and pride. Faith is paradoxical and seems to be contradictory at first because it requires us to let go of our arrogance and humbly lift our hearts up to the transcendental reality of eternal and everlasting truths and values.

One of the real ways to grasp the complex but beautiful mystery of our faith is at Mass! If we come with an open heart and childlike faith, we are able to discover the great intimacy and transcendence that are hidden in the Holy Sacrifice. This is truly the foretaste of heaven because it reveals His everlasting love for us… but at the same time reminds us that we are not there yet for we are still pilgrims on the way. At Mass, we are able to look and experience in a very personal way of the Paschal Mystery, Christ‘s own teachings and great love manifested in the past, as well as the eternal homeland where we will be when our earthly journey is over. When we come to Mass, the liturgy makes present our Lord‘s sacrifice in a non-bloodied way through the institution of the Eucharist so our hearts, minds, and souls can be filled with His loving truth and promise as we await His return in glory.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass reminds us that our faith is mysterious, complex, and beautiful. Even though we are assured and able to taste the sweetness of salvation and the Lord‘s love for us through His suffering, death, and resurrection, we must remain vigilant, and focused, and seek daily conversion because we are not finished with our journey yet. We are being reminded to spiritually prepare ourselves for the attacks, trials, hardships, and at times, sufferings, for the sake of Christ who loved and gave Himself up for us. The evil one and his manipulation of this world will continue to distract us and keep us losing our focus on the love of God. Therefore, as we have received in Him love at Mass, we should try our best to preserve our friendship with Him until we meet Him again in the heavenly homeland.

If we truly open ourselves up to the life-changing reality of Mass, we will never come out of it unchanged. The Holy Sacrifice of Christ at Mass is the sober reminder that how we receive Him now will be how we prepare ourselves to receive Him at His Second Coming. In other words, our disposition of how we open our hearts to receive Christ in our souls will be the gauge of how we are prepared and will be received by Him when He comes to greet us at the unexpected hour. Our faith keeps us vigilant, aware and focused on the spiritual battlefield all around us because the enemies are trying their best to attack, deter, and make us lose sight of His own love for us. Once we give into the attacks and lose sight of who we truly are, we will lose focus on Who gives us life and sustains us. Once we lose sight of God, the Devil will sow despairs, negativities, and hopelessness by diminishing our hope, making sure to chase after false happiness, emptiness, passing vanities, and false glories. If we lose sight of God and things that are eternal and life-giving, we will become objectified and, in turn, objectify others only to seek what is beneficial, hedonistic, and pleasurable for the moment but are lost, down-beaten, and empty deep from within.

The best way is to remember what has been given to us at each and every Mass, that Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as expiation for our sins, that He endured immense pains, sufferings, anguishes, shames, and even betrayal and abandonment for our sake. This is the greatest and clearest reminder of divine love for us so we can remember to live for Him and with Him in the present moment. This retrospective reflection, recalling and reliving in a loving, personal, and intimate way allows the message of the Cross, as well as the receiving of the Eucharist, to become an act of loving gift of ourselves to Him when we lovingly receive what He has given us. This faith is really enlivened and affirms our hope for the future.

Nevertheless, the Mass also reminds us that we are still on the journey toward our heavenly homeland. We are not there yet, and our journey on earth is not finished! What we receive at Mass strengthens our faith and hope in the real promise of Christ for us as His Church and as His beloved. What we have received at Mass is the real spiritual nourishment for the journey so we can replenish, re-energize, and be renewed by His love that is often silenced, ignored, and pushed out of our daily lives by the noisiness and distractions of this world. What we have received in prayer and at Mass really helps us be grounded in Christ as we actively and lovingly recall what He has given us in the past in order to grow in His never-changing promise of the future for us. Faith leads us to true hope, and hope leads us to real charity in how to love and serve one another because of what we have lovingly received from the One who loves us beyond all measures.

Even though our faith seems unappealing and paradoxical at times, it invites us to humbly trust God and grow in the love of Him. It is not always easy, especially when we want to control or take action with what we think is best for us according to our human comprehension and understanding, but we need to remind ourselves of how faithful God is for us and how His love wills our ultimate and eternal good. We might not have all the answers or be in control, but our faith teaches us the real reason why we believe and Who has the answer and is in control. Therefore, we are called to embrace the unknown mystery of our faith in a joyful trust that God desires and wills our good because He has been faithful, caring, and loving our very own lives.

The life of faith is not about knowing and controlling everything, but lovingly putting ourselves in the hands of the loving God who created, saved, and redeemed, and continues to sanctify and lead us on our journey back to Him. Childlike faith is a simple faith — but hard to put into practice — that trusts in the One who cares for our good because we have a personal, loving, and intimate relationship with Him, and we should strive for that each day so we are able to embrace the creative tensions that exist in our daily ups and downs. Truly, each day gives us the opportunity to begin with a simple, humble, and loving trust, willing to walk, abandon ourselves, and take each step with the Lord.