Saturday, April 16, 2011


inward/outward is a project of Church of the Saviour, in Washington, D.C. I highly recommend their emailed daily devotions.This post was inspired by today's.

The whole thrust of having faith is that you understand every experience of life as positive. It is the finest of fine arts. When we experience distress, we know that it often leads to a greater reward, in terms of relief, understanding and mastery. The art of faith is knowing at all times that troubles are temporary. We can use language to refine the skill of maintaining that awareness.

How can we know that troubles are temporary? If you have had a mystical experience of near-perfect peace, you know that trouble has been temporary in the past. However, we can't know the future. We can't know the ultimate outcome of all the happenings we experience.

But one can realize that there is no point in thinking that the ultimate outcome will be negative. That would be to believe that negativity and unhappiness can rule our existence. It doesn't square with our experience up to now (for most of us.)

We can have individualized hopes for the future - hope for some specific thing. And those hopes can be fulfilled or dashed. Faith, on the other hand, is a general attitude. It is a logical response to the unknowability of the future. Does it ever help your life to have a generalized anxiety about the future? No.

The art of faith is learning how to not even entertain the possibility of an ultimately negative outcome. When de Caussade says, "We must realize that it is in order to stimulate and sustain this faith that God allows the soul to be buffeted and swept away by the raging torrent...", one of the things he is saying is, "However bad I/you feel now, it is just an experience that will pass. Remember that." It is an encouragement; and as such is an act of love.

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