Mystery: the Life of Faith

Mystery makes the soul live by faith; for all the rest there is nothing but contradiction. The divine action by one and the same stroke kills and gives life; the more one feels the death to the senses and reason, the more convinced should one become that it gives life to the soul. The more obscure the mystery to us, the more light it contains in itself. This is why a simply soul will discover a more divine meaning in that which has the least appearance of having any. The life of faith is a continual struggle against the senses.

Jean Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence

Let’s face it. We want to know. We are uncomfortable with mystery and uncertainty. We even fear it. But, the more I proceed on my journey towards truth, I’m wondering more whether it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. Is that even possible?

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6) Jesus is God-man. To know Jesus is not to know 2+2=4. Rather, knowing Jesus is more akin to knowing your spouse. Do you ever know you spouse? I married my bride almost eight years ago, and six years before that we started our journey together. I can say without hesitation while I know my bride, I don’t claim to know her. Is exhaustive knowledge of another being even possible?

Now, apply that same question to knowing God. To answer anything but a resounding “NO” is laughable. If I can’t know another finite being perfectly (much less, even well), how could I ever think I know God. I don’t. Let’s face it. We don’t know God, nor can we. As a matter of fact, we are not invited to know him. We are invited to walk with him, feast with him, work with him, and learn from him. In other words, we are invited on a journey of learning him, not actually ever getting to the place where we’re done.

In arithematic you learn how to add. Then, when you know how to add, you go on to different subject ner’ to return. Why? There’s nothing new to learn there because you know how to add. Once you leave first grade you are done, and don’t return. In the School of Relationships, however, I’ve not left preschool in my knowledge of Jesus. I’m still learning to walk.

What I’m trying to say is this: “Mystery makes the soul live by faith“…Actually Jean Pierre de Cassaude said it…Nevertheless, it’s true. What do we really know of anything, much less ourselves? Yet, we arrogantly act so certain about so many things. One classic example just jumped into mind. Caiaphas.

Caiaphas “knew” God well. I mean, really well. Caiaphas the high priest of Israel, the “Pope” of the Judaic faith. Yet, we find Caiaphas looking directly into the eyes of Jesus Christ, God himself, and calling him a blasphemer. So sure of himself. So surely wrong.

Embracing mystery is difficult because it is humbling. What is harder than the humble life? Nothing. The humble life is a life of faith, one lived solely on God, not on the abilities of man. A life devoted to God is ultimately the only life worth living.

Embrace mystery and live faithfully.


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