Our world is full of mysteries. Some can be explained by science or reasoned through logic, but some remain ineffable. For Vincent de Paul, a Catholic priest, God was one of those mysteries that remained beyond our grasp. From his Christian perspective, he once noted, “the more directly we look at the sun, the less we see it; likewise, the more we try to reason about the truths of our religion, the less we know by faith.”1 For Vincent, having faith without an answer for God’s mysteries was an important part of his religious beliefs.
In our twenty-first-century United States, the mysteries of the world are drastically different from those of Vincent’s seventeenth-century France. Advances in science, medicine, and technology have helped “explain away” many of the mysteries from 400 years ago. And yet, as much as we know today, there are still many mysteries we do not understand, and still others that emerge every day.
In the end, we are left with the truth that there are aspects of our lives which require us to have faith: faith in our community, faith in a higher power, faith in an unknown, or faith in something larger than ourselves that cannot be fully grasped.
Think of something that remains a mystery in your life. How do you rely on faith to understand or live with this mystery?
1 Conference 23, Maxims of Saint Vincent, CCD, 12:386.
Reflection by: Michael Van Dorpe, Program Manager for Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry
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One thought on “Having Faith in Light of Life’s Mysteries”
Thank you for your words and I accept them in the spirit of an offering and the desire to promote well-being. But for me faith and reason must exist together. As we see, people use their faith in order to reject logic and justify conspiracy theories, supremacism, violence, and insurrection. Transcendence and the merging with that which is “greater” must also be grounded in reality, facts, the search for justice and in relationship to the “other.” I believe that it is in that I-Thou relationship that we find faith. But it must live with reason and critical thinking. Faith that cannot accept questioning, leads to the horrors of fanaticism and totalitarianism as we have seen all too often.