Recently a thoughtful reader sent me an email saying how he was struck by the Rilke quote about “living the question” (see post on “So What Makes a Nun Different?“). Many of us have so many questions related to our experience of God as well as understanding and living our faith. It seems the more we delve into our faith, the more question arise. Such questioning is good for it help us to grow in our faith and be ever open to God’s revelation in our lives.
I have had many faith/religion/spiritual questions throughout my life, even as a sister.
I’m naturally something of a skeptic and so having faith never really came easy for me. When I started studying religion and philosophy in college and then theology in grad school, “faith” became even more distant for me because I had so many questions. A lot of my assumptions were totally blasted by my professors and by mingling with people of other faith traditions, humanists, atheists, etc. As disconcerting as that was at the time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to put aside everything I “know about” God and to trust in actually relating to God — opening myself to experiencing God himself and not some idea of God. Sounds good, but it was challenging for me to just let go and BE with God — on God’s terms, not mine. Didn’t know exactly what that meant … still don’t … but now I’m okay with that. My favorite Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, SJ, talks about God as Holy Mystery. We can never fully comprehend God because God is incomprehensible and infinite — God is not something to be figured out — rather our response is to embrace the Mystery and fall into the loving embrace of God. I don’t know about you, but I’m not so good at letting go. But, I trust that my desire to let go pleases God and that God is right there nudging me along. After all, the desire for God doesn’t originate with us … we long for God because God first longed for us. Pretty cool when you think about it. And so for me, many questions remain. Some have become less pressing, some are no longer relevant, and some pressing ones surface every so often. The challenge is to hold onto the questions and the search lightly, peacefully …. to remain firmly rooted in one’s experience of God yet open to the amazing and surprising ways that God reveals himself in ordinary events, nature, other people (even the ones who annoy us). That’s what I strive for in my life.
August 19, 2006 at 11:00 pm
Greatly put collection of thoughts; Your message about the search – to keep it light – is very critical, as I believe a loud and aggressive one could potentially lead to destructive behaviors and might even go so far as to cloud the message of Christianity. Living the question, the question of God, is probably just another way of saying to live your life like a prayer.