Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 21, 2003
Initiating faith in others is no simple task
By FR. RON ROLHEISER, omi
Faith and faith communities work well when there's poverty, naivete, innocence, and helplessness.
If this is true, then what's being asked of us today is that we find a new way to live out our faith within the affluence and sophistication of our culture.
How might that be done? Jesus tells us that we enter the kingdom of God more easily when we are poor, childlike, innocent and helpless. We had those qualities in abundance before we became affluent, educated and sophisticated, but we had them by conscription, not by choice. They came with our place in society.
Moreover we had them prior to having affluence, education, wide experience and acceptance within the mainstream. Our innocence was a first innocence, our poverty a first poverty, and our reliance on God was often dictated simply by our helplessness.
Faith and faith communities work well when there's poverty, naivete, innocence, and helplessness. They don't work nearly as well within affluence, sophistication and self-reliance. The task for us then, however difficult, is to become post-affluent, post-sophisticated, post-critical and post-self-reliant. We need to become "inner immigrants," living out freely those qualities of poverty, innocence, and powerlessness that our economic, social, and educational status once forced on us.
But how do we become those things? Our generation's job is to learn what those things mean, enflesh them, and then pattern them for our children and for others to follow. Each generation of believers must, like the Jewish prophets, eat the word of God, digest it, and give it its own flesh. Giving faith to others, especially our own children, is not the simple task of handing on a treasure-chest of eternal truths, like one passes on a baton-stick in a relay race. Each generation, our own no less than any other, has first to give its own flesh to those truths.
One of our major faith-tasks then is to model a new way of being poor, innocent, chaste and powerless inside of affluence, sophistication, experience, and the power and self-reliance these bring.
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