On critiquing our Christian faith

“Worshiped, but they doubted.”

“DOUBT isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith…Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful.” –Paul Tillich

It’s good to be critical of our faith. Otherwise, we’re merely blind followers, not fully understanding what we’re believing and practicing. It’s healthy to go through doubts about our religious beliefs, to ask questions about them. It’s part of maturing in faith.

Even Saints wrestled with their faith while doing works of charity. St. Teresa of Calcutta, for example, admitted that she rarely had periods of consolation during prayer.  St. Teresa of Avila humorously complained to God in the intimacy of prayer: “Dear Lord, if this is how You treat your friends, it is no wonder that You have few!”

Pope Francis also expressed a similar sentiment by saying these words: “Who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith? We’ve all experienced this, me too.”

Indeed, our journey of faith is a continuous struggle and wrestling with questions of meaning, sufferings, creeds, traditions, and other existential matters.

I write this insight because of the experience of the apostles in this Sunday’s Gospel. After seeing Jesus crucified, died, and raised from the dead, it boggles my mind why the disciples in Matthew’s Gospel during the Ascension scene (Matthew 26”16-20)   “worshiped, but they doubted.” Didn’t they have enough evidence that Jesus is the Son of God? Isn’t his rising from the dead and being with them for forty days in his glorified body enough reason to worship him as Lord and Savior?

What still strikes me, even more, is how Jesus, despite their doubts, still commissioned them to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that that he had commanded them.

Discipleship will never be devoid of questioning of faith, as long as we are in the process of growth, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. And despite this process, the Lord still entrusts to us to continue his mission of love and mercy on earth.

Our anchor is his promise of eternal life. As we pray with the priest in Preface I of the Feast of the Ascension of Lord: “He ascended, not to distance himself from our lowly state but that we, his members, might be confident of following where, he, our Head and Founder, has gone before.”

Let’s keep asking questions about our faith–questions that make our relationship with God stronger and keep us continuing Christ’s mission of love, justice, and peace here on earth!

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