Monday, 5 May 2008


This is a picture that I took when I was in Salamanca. This is the front of the Cathedral (the new one bearing in mind it's a few centuries old!), I think. The reason I put this up is simply because it demonstrates the whole point of this post.
If you look at all the masonry and the art work you will see how detailed it is and how it tells a story; not any old story... it tells a story of faith, of hope, in short it tells the story of the whole life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What's my point? This conveys facts, but also conveys the mystery of God.
This story, this historical reality of salvation history is indeed a mystery to us. Yes theologians can explain and clarify and keep us from straying, but ultimately they will never tell us the whole story. With faith, there is always a very big element of mystery which for some is hard to accept. We want models of explanation, detailed analysis, solid empirical proofs in some cases. Yes faith and reason go hand in hand, it is reasonable to believe... Yet the Paschal mystery still leaves us speechless.
Today we live in a culture which feels it can solve everything. We have life coaches who tell you they will solve all your problems, money specialists who'll make sure your debts are manageable, counsellors who say they will help the deepest darkest problems you have and yes they can make a positive difference and so a lot of good, yet they cant answer the big questions. Who am I? Where am I from? Where am I going? And how will I ever get there?
One scientist who is working on the so called 'God particle' thought that if he discovers the God particle then that's it. The mystery of universe is solved and the key to understanding matter is all finished. Yet, when the atom was discovered, nobody dared to dream that one day we could split the atom. Science makes a mistake in the fact that it's beginning to discount the notion that it could ever be surprised. Likewise the life coaches, money specialists and and counsellors sometimes have a tendency to think they know everything - when in fact they know a little about (not in all cases) a lot.
A young Fr Karol Wojtyla once said that a priest is a unique observer, he sees what the general human eye cannot see, he's sees into the mystery. Maybe a problem with the priesthood today, is that so many priests try and act like a life coach, a money specialist and a counsellor; but they should really be acting like priests, who are there to be a spiritual father and to share in all the joys, sufferings and trials of everyday life, but who can show the door to the mystery and help people enter into that.
I sat through a sermon the other week and it bored me to tears because all I heard was a sort of hashed up summary of the theology of Pentecost. Yet the priest didn't convey anything of what having the gift of the Holy Spirit which we receive sacramentally through confirmation meant. Nothing about the responsibility of being confirmed, nothing about the grace that comes with such an occasion, nothing which communicates the mystery of the whole event.
Maybe, in our lives as well as our faith we need to rediscover the mystery; because only when we accept mystery not as some pious saying to put of answering difficult questions but instead a reality a part of life itself, maybe then we will find some peace, and maybe then we will start to find some answers, maybe then will we find God in our lives.

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