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Archive for July, 2011

I often write about my conviction that religion’s basic reason for being is to explain. People want to know, in particular, why all the bad things happen.  But of course this desire is never enough.  The problem needs more than explanation, it needs action. The bad things will stop, we tell ourselves, if and when God intervenes. (more…)

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I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This observation reminds me of St Benedict’s dictum: to work is to pray.  If we have finally realised how infinitely, categorically impossible it is for us to explain ‘who’ or ‘what’ God is, we can be attentive again to all those messages in scripture and tradition which point us to our own truth:  that if “God” is indeed impossible to comprehend, well then, it is up to us to enact the divine in the world, by our acts of living and giving. We have to ‘walk the talk’.

Come to think of it, wasn’t that Jesus’ Great Commandment: that being the best that we can be as humans, and being for others, is the central duty we have – both the opportunity and need for us to demonstrate by our words and actions that humankind is redeemable from itself?

“Go forth and show his glory in the world” (Psalm 96:2).

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