Sunday, September 2, 2007

An interesting remark from a sermon I heard today - "Why are we so conquered by "feeling" rather than "knowing" in our lives today? We do something and act out our choices because we feel like it, regardless of whether we know something is right or wrong. More and more, our lives are ruled and governed by the fickle embers of our feelings (which often cannot be trusted to be authentic witnesses of truth) rather than the conviction of knowledge formed by conscience and prayer.

When faced with any dilemma or conflict, many of us would rather bury our minds in the denial of responsible judgement - as long as I feel it's ok, it's ok - rather than discover the truth about things and ourselves. Not many feel comfortable looking into the mirror of their own conscience, and many more would prefer to escape into the indulgence of their feelings and whims, just so they don't have to think things through...and quite possibly risk admitting their own faults and failings.

In the same way, we cannot afford to build our faith on feelings, since any soul who strives to live righteously with fidelity to the gospel will soon discover that he has more problems, crosses and sadness than he did before his conversion. It almost seems as if the "good man" is a sorry man where providence is concerned. And the irreligious and lackadaisical prosper with apparently lofty blessings from on-high.

At times like these, we may be tempted to cry out in despair because we feel abandoned by God. And yet this dark night is common to the saints; which has led a personage no less than Tereza of Avila to exclaim, "No wonder Lord you have so few friends, look at how you treat them."

However to feel abandoned and to know you're abandoned are two very different things. And the saints no matter how grievous their trials and feelings of despair, know in their hearts that God does not abandon them; that in His love, all their Calvarys have meaning and worth, and that the right path to sanctity and heaven is often preceded by thorny roads.

We must be careful not to let "feelings" alone, however authentic and genuine, be the arbitrator of our life decisions. Instead, we must seek to live our triumphs, losses, joys and hurts in the wisdom and knowledge of God's holy spirit; and a hope that is founded on the faithfulness and redemption of Christ. Above all, we need to ask for the courage to persevere in prayer, since in the words of Mother Teresa (who for many years struggled and lived through her own dark night) - "The fruit of quietness is prayer; The fruit of prayer is faith; The fruit of faith is Love; The fruit of Love is service; The fruit of service is peace."

Faith and truth are not built on feelings, and neither is love. And although we may sometimes feel sad, we will also know deep joys and triumphs in this life...if we persevere in faith, hope and love.