Skip to main content

Conversation with A Struggling Believer Pt. II

Person: "That is sheer nonsense. You definitely have left me. How many times I have prayed, followed the commandments, endured abuse, and yet you have the nerve to say that I left you? What about all the other people that you have let down in the world;  the numberless victims who are killed each day without the hope of a better day?"

God: "I am the same God who has always existed since I created the world. The way I operate is through faith. Every single, great follower of mine has had faith. Look at Noah, Abraham, even look at all the miracles that my son did. He did them all through faith. It is faith that provides the means for man to become great.  As for the numberless victims that you mentioned I am answering their prayers in ways not understandable to you or others. Take for example that you are running a company.  Times are tough and you are not making enough money to cover your expenses. Now as the executive you are forced with the decision to either close down or to streamline.  You choose to streamline to protect the entire company even if this means that you will need to let go of some of your workers. Now to the people that you lay off you are terrible, but without them knowing it you had to do this for the greater good of the company because if you did not take any action everyone would be out of a job. As the executive don't you have the right to make this decision?

Person: "Yes I did. But if you are comparing yourself to an executive it is cruel because inevitably some people will get hurt."

God: "That is true if you are looking at it through human eyes. But if you are looking at it from divine eyes you will realize that I am there with everyone; the ones who still have their jobs and the ones who lost their jobs.  Who knows maybe for some of the people who lost their jobs the job wasn't good for them.  I see with a total perspective which involves the future.  As father I will never let misfortune conquer good.  For out of every negative circumstance I will create a greater good."

God: "Let me ask you how do you define greatness?

Person: "Greatness is being better than the majority at what you do."

God: "Not bad. You are not too far from the truth. The only thing that I would add is that the way I define greatness is the quickness to which one responds to me in faith. Faith is also a gift, it is not something that can be attained through effort. It is something that I give to all those who ask for it sincerely."

Person: "If it is that simple then why so few people are able to reach greatness?"

God: "Free will. Throughout history I've always worked with the few, the so-called remnant. In the Old Testament I rebuilt my temple with Nehemiah, through King David and Solomon I built the Jewish nation with only 12 apostles I created Christianity. I don't need numbers to accomplish great things, all I need is a few true believers who respond to me through faith."

Person. "That sounds so wonderful and lofty, but what about my daily failings?"

God: "I am the God of infinite mercy. I can forgive anything and anyone as long as they are truly sorry."

Person: "Why is it so hard then?"

God: "It is true that I could have made the faith journey easier. It would have been easier for me to create automatons who would follow my every command. But I chose an entirely different path, the path of love. The path of love involves free will. I wanted my creatures to love me out of choice, not out of necessity. That is why I told Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge.  I was not setting him up to fail as many think. I was simply giving Adam the chance to prove his love for me through obedience. In the end Adam failed because he did not love me out of freedom.  He loved me out of fear which was instilled in him through evil. He choose not to love me freely.

How would you feel if you loved your wife only because you had to?"

Person: "It wouldn't be love then."

God: "Exactly. So I took the risk to give everyone the opportunity to love me freely."

Person: "That sounds good, but what about all the evil that has been perpetrated by free will. You can surely see the much evil has resulted, let me say from your flawed free will design?"

God: "It is not a flaw, the result of free will has also been instrumental in much of the good in this world. You can argue effectively the Free Will has resulted in much evil. I would argue also that Free Will has resulted in much good."

Person: "Yes, I do. But I am still troubled mostly by my own shortcomings. Why do I consistently choose to go against you?"

God: "Go on continue."

Person: "I have accomplished little as a Christian.  There are no people that I have converted, I don't help the poor regularly, there are no heroic deeds which I can count.  Worse off I feel that I am setting a bad example to my coworkers by being such a failed Christian."

God: "How are you setting a bad example?"

Person: "Sometimes I curse, partake in crude jokes, and generally talk little about you to my coworkers.  I go to confession, but I still commit the same sins over and over again.  I try to be sorry about my sins and yet I commit them again and again."

God: " In your opinion what do you do good?"

Person: "I am hardworking, fair, kind, mostly honest, respectful to my authorities."

God: "It seems that you are doing well if you can point these things out.  There is a common misnomer about following me and it is that one has to accomplish great things in order to be holy.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You mentioned before that greatness was accomplished by the select few.  You were partially correct.  It is true that I do choose a select few for great, recognizable missions.  But for the vast majority I call people to simple, everyday greatness.  If you look at the lives of the saints, not all of them accomplished great things while they were alive.  Most of my saints were overlooked, forgotten.  Take for example, St. Therese of Lisieux; she was an unknown nun in an obscure cloister in France, but because of her great faith she became a doctor of the Church and patron saint to the missionaries even though she never stepped foot in a mission field.  I measure greatness by a person's response in faith.  All of my saints have this one thing in common."

Person: "Then why do I have this constant desire for greatness, it can not simply be vanity because I am very aware of the responsibilities that come along with greatness."

God: "Your desire for greatness might be noble.  The great thing to remember is that I can take any desire noble or base and turn it into greatness as long as that person channels that desire to serve me."

Person: "How about those people who have accomplished great things without following you?"

God: "I am the God of virtue and natural law I created these to keep the universe afloat.  Principles are principles irrespective of a person's motive.  If someone follows these principles they will achieve some success because I am the God of order and every action has a consequence.  I am always working even in those who ignore or hate me.  I can shape any event or accomplishment towards my ends which is always geared towards the salvation of every human being.  I have always worked this way take a look at every tragedy throughout history.  I have been able to draw the good even from my most evil subjects."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

10 Great Quotes from The Book of Sirach

The book of Sirach is a book that is often overlooked in the bible. This is unfortunate since this book contains many wise, practical saying on how to live a virtous life. The book was believed to have been written between 200-175 B.C.E.

Here are ten quotes that I feel best reflect this timeless work.

1."Do not become a beggar by feasting with\borrowed money, when you have nothing in your purse." Sirach 18:33

2."In all you do remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." 7:36

3.."Glory and dishonor come from speaking; a man's tongue is his downfall." 5:13"

4."A wise man is cautious in everything." 18:27

5."One who trusts others is light minded." 19:4

6."If you pursue justice, you will obtain it and wear it as a glorious robe." 27:8

7."Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but no many as have fallen because of the tongue." 28:18

8." In all of your work be industrious and no sickness will…

George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include: Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life, and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius&#…

Me vs. The Almighty

There is famous scene in the bible where Jacob wrestles with God.  Jacob fights with God until God takes out a bone from Jacob's thigh. Interestingly, God eventually relents and stops fighting with Jacob. After this dramatic incident Jacob is renamed Israel which literally means, "he who struggles with God."

I can relate to this story.  Many times in my life I have argued with God. I still do. (my wife can attest to that.) Many times I have criticized his tactics, his ways, and his wisdom. In my worst moments I have even used choice language. I have a complicated relationship with God. Like Jacob I have wrestled with God. (thigh bone still intact)

Recently I approached a priest friend of mine and told him of my struggles with God.  I expected that he would chide me for my lack of respect and informality. What this priest said was illuminating and encouraging. He told me that it was OK at times to be angry with God, God understood. He in fact encouraged this honesty and o…