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BY KENNETH C. ALIMBA

About This Booklet

The following is an introduction to a more advanced understanding of God based on the teachings of the Catholic Church. By familiarizing oneself with these teachings, one can begin to comprehend the purpose of existence, the essence of Christian worship, and our responsibility to serve others. This knowledge is intended to transform a person’s perspective and guide them in asking important questions.

Warning

This is intended for print, so the language may show it.

Copyright

© 2023 Kenneth C. Alimba. No part of this booklet may be reproduced without the express permission of the author. I intend to spread the gospel, and I grant permission for reprinting but with conditions, so feel free to send us a message using the Contact Page.



Making Sense of God’s Existence and Catholicism

WHY MAKE SENSE OF YOUR FAITH?

Some people believe that all you need is Faith in God without knowing if having faith makes sense, if God is real, or even what it means to have faith. And they are right; this is all you need, but only if you are still young or new to the faith. One would be right to tap into the faith of a trusted parent, for instance, at the initial stage. But the items of faith proposed still need to make sense, at least on the surface. Because what if you are brainwashed into believing something meaningless or harmful? Is blind faith still good for you? But faith is more than just believing unverifiable stuff; most people think this is what faith is, but they are wrong. Faith must be reasonable.

Everyone believes their religion is the true religion. And within said religion, the philosophies guiding their specific denomination are the true one. And within their particular denomination, their understanding of those philosophies, within that denomination, within that religion, is “the” truth. But the problem is if all the proof one has is ‘because I believe,’ there is no way of knowing what is true and what isn’t. 

There has to be a way of measuring some objective truth about religions that we can use to say this is better in this way, the other in that way, and overall, this is better than others. I will not judge every religion but give some pointers on why you should make sense of your faith and attempt to guide you through it. 

Firstly, you need to make sense of your belief because, after the initial acceptance of the word of God as true, you are supposed to inquire more into the things of God to understand more. This is why we as Christians read the scriptures, to gain more understanding of God so that our faith might grow stronger. If we cannot understand more, our faith will never grow past its infant stage. Many adult Catholics sadly only know what they’ve learned in childhood catechism classes, many of whom barely understood a thing but only crammed to pass tests and receive communion. 

Some people mock the value of rigorous study, which is contrary to God since everything you have in your MUST be employed in the service of God and in searching for him. God gave you intelligence to distinguish right from wrong by attracting you to the truth. But also by giving you an aversion and repulsion for lies and deceit, this is the same even for a liar. But this intellect is also for you to weigh what makes sense and what does not and follow what makes sense even in the absence of complete information.

In our drive to make sense of our faith, we have a few options as to the quality of each proposed article of belief :

1. An idea can be determined and demonstrated as undoubtedly true because of physical or intellectual evidence. As we proceed, we will use this method to learn many things about God.

2. Another will fall into the category of things we cannot determine as certain because we lack sufficient evidence or cannot fully appreciate the magnitude. This includes mysteries or concepts with too much nuance and constant changes.

3. Then, some we can determine are unequivocally false because they go directly contrary to right reason.

We are humans who exist in this world with all we need to survive and reproduce. The human race has existed for thousands of years because we have the tools to survive; even with constant changes, we have the unique ability to adapt, change, intellectually engage, and evolve with new problems. We would have been extinct by now if we didn’t have this ability.

We can also deduce from this that if there is a God, we would have the capacity to know and ‘sense’ him somehow, even if we lack precision and clarity getting at him through our natural powers.

We can see from how the Universe is ordered that it doesn’t make sense to believe that somehow, someone created the Universe and abandoned it because this would be the only reason we wouldn’t be able to perceive the designer of the Universe. So, it would mean believing that someone created the Universe for absolutely no reason. Because if there is a reason why the Universe is created, then it follows that we would have the capacity to perceive the Creator because we would somehow reflect the will of the one who made the Universe. 

And there is no way to reflect the will of anyone without somehow perceiving the personality of the one whose will we reflect. So believing that the Universe exists for absolutely no reason falls under the category of things that don’t make any sense at all, and this is very valuable to know because that which doesn’t make sense cannot be the truth, at least not for us humans. Even if you do not want to believe in objectivity, the only reason why something would make sense to human beings is that it serves or helps us in some way. So, if it doesn’t make sense, it is objectively false, or at least it doesn’t serve us.

So, our intellect is very valuable in determining what is true and false since our Universe is, in a sense, centered around us, at least according to us. If we are doing the perceiving, we have to see ourselves in the center since we perceive everything with our faculties, and we cannot but perceive them in relation to us. 

So, we are supposed to use our intellect to perceive things and judge the things that do or do not make sense. And if we can conclusively prove something does not make sense, we would be right to cast it away completely, no matter where the information comes from. Remember, we must be able to conclusively prove it is directly contrary to reason before throwing it away. In the case of any uncertainty, we can continue investigating. But we need to be slow in our investigations and be as selfless as possible to allow the truth to reveal itself to us as we search. A lack of selflessness pushes truth further away since we will insert our biases and lies and only find the results we hope for and not the reality that exists outside of us.

So, we need to make sense of our beliefs rather than simply taking what has been handed us. Because if we can make sense of it, we can make it our own rather than believe with the faith we have in someone else’s judgment, like our parents. Such was enough to raise us to a level, but at some point, we need to enter deeply with our whole being to be able to reap the benefits of engaging in such a glorious enterprise.

We also need to make sense of our beliefs for our sake to reach our full potential. The prevailing idea is that God created the world, which makes sense, as we will see. But if he made the world, it makes sense that aligning with his will is supposed to be for our good. You want to be more than you are, on the positive side. You want to be more educated, tolerant, courageous, temperate, just, merciful, loving, etc. You want to be more than you are right now by any metric imaginable. But it is not only for yourself; you must be more for others, especially your loved ones and those under your care. If you are more, there would be even more of you to give to them, more of you to love, and more of you to enjoy. And the more useful you are to them, the more satisfaction you will reap in this life and the happier you will become.

GOD’S EXISTENCE

If you walked in the middle of some large expanse with rocky mountains surrounding it, and you saw a large boulder – a big chunk of rock sitting in the middle of the road. You could look around and assume it broke off from the mountains and fell there. This would be a reasonable assumption; even without any complete evidence, this would suffice as a working theory that makes a lot of sense. This is how human beings think. You could adjust your conclusion if you later see a video of someone putting the large rock there.

But let us assume you were walking in a desert with no mountains around. And you saw a large, smooth, spherical ball made of iron or glass. Could you assume that this chunk of material arrived at that place by accident? Would that be a reasonable assumption, even without conclusive evidence or information? The ‘evidence’ you must first appeal to is intellectual before weighing any other data. What are the chances that a thunderstorm or some natural occurrence could break into the earth, mine some iron ore from its core, and somehow forge it into a perfectly spherical shape, transport it miles into some desert, and leave it there? Wouldn’t you immediately assume, with little to no effort, that someone did something to make this happen?

But pardon me, let us consider, yet again, that you are looking into a strange airplane in the middle of a mechanic’s workshop that everyone somehow denies knowledge of. Suppose someone were to suggest to you that the storm the night before somehow gathered all the parts and fixed up a working airplane out of spare parts in the shop. Would you accept this as a reasonable explanation for such a complex mechanical marvel? You would assume that conscious intelligence went into its intricate design, right? Such intricacy cannot come together by accident; in fact, evidence shows that accidents can break it apart, not put it together. That is what accidents tend to do.

Last consideration: the Universe. How can anyone question the reasonableness of God’s existence, even knowing a fraction of what we know about the Universe? In our booklet “Raising Balanced Catholic Children – Lessons for Parents,” we discussed these points in more detail, so I will skip making the point on the impossibility of chance as the source of our Universe, which is what many God-deniers are pushing. 

“Accident” or “chance” cannot produce such intricacies, nor can anything unconscious produce consciousness. It is such a ridiculous idea, and it boggles the mind that anyone believes such a thing. Please find the tract mentioned above on kyfaith.org and read it, or call us to request a copy. 

THE JOURNEY OF FAITH

Every religion is unique, but they are usually similar in that they are all intellectual attempts to grasp ‘transcendence.’ A leader tells his people, ‘There, all the way over there is God.’ Only Christianity has a different angle, God who comes down to say, ‘I am Here.’ But it was not always so in the history of our preceding traditions, which formed the basis for Catholicism.

The Universe is made for a purpose, and we can gauge the reasonableness of this belief by seeing the intricacies and complicated calculations that went into its creation and sustenance. At least we see it this way from our limited perspective, but it is still grand, even from our tiny corner. To know why the Universe was made, no one is better to answer that question than God himself. We can perceive the existence of God and even glean into his nature from his creation. But, we can only know his mind clearly with the exercise of faith. That faith, however, cannot be just on anything but on the story told by God himself; this is the power of the foundations of the faith we now enjoy.

God has been laying the foundations in many traditions worldwide for thousands of years. He was scattering the natural knowledge of his will in many places to reflect his will for creation. This begins with writing the natural laws in man’s heart and the yearning and search for meaning. This search man has sought in many places, even in so many disastrous places where man has sought glory and power, but still all ended up making him empty. In every tradition in the world, even in the remotest places, people have practiced many different religions, with several rites and rituals, each reflecting something about the truth of God but missing so many more. Because no matter how man grasps God, he reveals himself how and when he chooses.

In time, God established a partnership with the people of Israel, speaking through many prophets and showing his power through many signs and extraordinary miracles. Still, the more God came close to the people, the farther away they drifted into idolatry, which they practiced in many ways, not only in constructing physical altars to hand-made gods but in worshipping other material objects in the place of God who saves them. Ultimately, He decided to come down and live amongst his people. 

This is how the story goes. And ‘story’ here is meant in its most sacred and powerful way because what is being told is the history of the people of God. God commands them to remember their journey in time and commemorate milestones in their relationship with him. This is a powerful bond we share with our maker.

At the appointed time, God the Son came down to the world without leaving the bosom of the Father. To reveal himself to us physically and to commune with the world. He brings his own story, life, and loving gaze to meet us so that we can feel his heart beating for the love of the world.

THE REASONABLENESS OF FAITH

Faith means that we trust the word of God as true. Firstly, it is indeed coming from God and not some people. And secondly, as truth, trusting that God is incapable of deceit. These are very reasonable truths since we can study, for instance, the person of Jesus and see Divinity. Jesus’ life was predicted several years before he was born with such accuracy. We will discuss very few of those below.

But faith is based on the idea that there are things we are incapable of understanding properly because they exceed our capacity, and this makes sense since man is incapable of comprehending many things even with so much effort. There are many things we are capable of knowing, but only partially. We can know some only as concepts or possibilities, but many fall outside our purview entirely; we cannot know of them in any form. They completely elude us. God fits into all these categories at the same time. We can know God, but not entirely, less still if we rely solely on our human powers. But with faith, we are able to know him slightly better, and I say ‘slightly’ because what we do not know about God far surpasses what we know about Him. Faith elevates our mere human reasoning powers to see God better. Faith gives us a vision of God, letting us view God according to our capacity but through the eyes of God. So we are still unable to see him completely. Still, we catch a glimpse relying primarily on the self-revelation of Christ and from the witness of the Holy Spirit in his Church.

Faith means that we accept this revelation of God that fills in the blanks of reason and uplifts it. But you will notice that faith is built on reason and is perfection for it. Faith does not and cannot go contrary to reason, which means it can never posit anything that does not make sense. 

PROPHECIES 

One of the values of prophecy is to demonstrate the actions of God in time to elicit faith in Him. It is a way of showing the authority of God that attends a particular message or person. Jesus fulfilled many prophecies, and I share very few for want of space. I encourage you to read this topic elsewhere; I will consider publishing a separate article on our website.

Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would birth him: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. This is fulfilled in the mysterious virgin birth and the incarnation of the Christ who is “God with us.” Later he says: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Showing the Divine nature of Christ and that of his ministry.

And Micah says: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2. Shows where Jesus would be born. And in another passage from Isaiah (Isaiah 11:1-10) Jesus is prophesied to be an ensign to all nations. He will restore the kingdom of Israel (Am. 9:11-12), and inherit the throne of David his forefather. And his kingdom will last forever (Luke 1:32-33).

Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies it is difficult to catalog them all, but we will stop here and consider something about his ministry.

JESUS IS/WAS NOT “A GOOD MAN”

No matter the denomination, Christians have one thing in common: We believe Jesus is God. This belief is, in fact, essential to fundamental Christian doctrine, without which you will not be called a Christian, no matter how many times you explain your position. The specific theologies surrounding Christ’s nature and relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit differ from denomination to denomination. Still, the basic concept is the same: Jesus existed for all eternity, took flesh in time from Mary, and was born in the world. He is God, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father. Keep this aside.

Now, some people say Jesus was not God, and they give all kinds of theories, including the one I believe to be one of the most ridiculous: ‘Jesus was just a nice/good man.’ The problem with this definition is that Jesus cannot be just a nice/good man. Because he is either God or he was evil, misleading everyone into thinking he is God. You cannot be a ‘good man’ and lie to everyone about your identity, especially if they come to glean from your words that you ARE GOD and worship you. You are either God or the worst person ever to live. Thankfully, Jesus is God, and we can see evidence of this scattered in the scriptures, but again, I will highlight a few points that stand out to me.

JESUS, GOD

Jesus is the center of our faith since the message we received is built around him. It was “I have seen the Lord”; that was the content of the witness we received from those who brought the faith to us. The Apostles testified to Jesus in a powerful and unbelievable way. I mean that literally because their message was unbelievable: “He is risen.” That is an insane message to speak of any man, but thankfully, Jesus is more than just a man.

But let’s back up a little bit to examine the Ministry of Jesus just a bit. Jesus was born a ‘nobody’ among the poorest of the poor in his world. He managed to become so popular after three years of active ministry. Within this time, he annoyed everyone powerful in his region and became a headache for the Roman governor, who, with his wife, were terrified of him in varying degrees. The stubbornness of the Jews at the time facilitated his brutal torture and crucifixion; he died, and his ministry seemingly died. His apostles scattered after following him for about three years and misunderstanding the most pivotal parts of his identity and purpose. They went their separate ways, mostly back to their fishing jobs.

Some of these men were intense on religious matters, and some were very zealous. They were willing to fight for God physically because that was how they understood things at their time. They were naive and scared to make the ultimate sacrifice, maybe because they lacked a few things or it was God’s plan and providence. 

First, their faith in the divinity of Christ was not so strong yet. Or at least they didn’t yet understand the point of his incarnation. Because even though Peter spoke up a few times, it felt their faith was not where it should be. Immediately after the high exaltation, Jesus turned and called him satan for trying to deter him from his crucifixion. But the resurrection threw them all in a tizzy and brought them back together again. The nascent Church was re-called from everywhere it scattered because this defied human understanding. The second thing missing was the charge from the Spirit of God, who would imbue them with supernatural power to do some extraordinary things, the primary of which is to stand courageously and bear witness in the face of death.

Anyone could doubt the authenticity of Christ’s miracles while he was alive, but rising from the dead was no joke. There is no other way to explain this than as God’s indisputable, mysterious work. Plus, it makes zero sense that these men dispersed, went their separate ways, reconvened, and seemed to receive the power to speak, which they previously lacked.

Gamaliel said something powerful to the Sanhedrin: “..Therefore, in the present case, I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5 38-39).

The natural flow is: some guy makes noise, they catch him, kill him, and he becomes quiet. But Jesus was captured and killed, but for some reason, he was louder than ever. Even on the Cross, he was busy committing more of the ‘crime’ that led to his brutal and shameful death; he forgave sin and promised a place in heaven to a thief. He was ‘playing’ God again. This man never stopped!! 

Upon his death, the veil of the Temple that covered the entrance to the Holy of Holies tore in two from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). Remember that this veil was roughly 60 feet tall and about 4 inches in thickness, according to some scholars. This was no light curtain but a thick fabric separating the dwelling place of God from the people, so no human hand could have torn it. Then there was an earthquake. And graves opened up, and many of the saints who had previously died later walked among men again Matt. 27:52-53. Even the Centurion converted, which was the biggest miracle to me. Someone who facilitated the death of Christ, seeing all that had happened, confessed the divinity of Christ there and then and changed his life. (Matt. 27:54).

His ministry spread even faster through the apostles after his death and the initial miracles that attended it. This makes absolutely no sense, as we have seen. There is no incentive for the apostles to preach if what they said was a lie. In fact, they had every disincentive to preach the message of a dead ‘criminal.’ It was shameful, and many people looked at them with contempt. It was extremely dangerous and would mean they were certainly going to be brutally killed, too. But these men swore that Jesus had risen from the dead, and they saw him with their eyes and touched him, and for this, they were willing to die.

It makes no sense that anyone could push against so many odds. That the message of Christ survived after his brutal murder, and that the apostles persevered in the face of such threat and stood their ground. The only explanation is that Jesus is God, and something happened to the apostles that genuinely changed their lives so much they were willing to die for the truth they preached. It is equivalent to someone falling from a mountain but in the upward direction. That is, falling from the bottom of the mountain and landing on the top. This would be a defiance of everything natural. God defies nature constantly to show that there is more at play and to validate the message of his prophets. Jesus is more than just a prophet or some king or priest. He is indeed those things, but above all, He is the Son of God; He is “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God.”

But what makes sense is our faith in the message the witnesses of such great miracles bring. God ensures that miracles still attend his Church, but in our time, it has taken a much smaller place for faith to become more central in our worship, and this, too, is understandable. Today, there are so many miracles in the Catholic Church, all verifiable and verified by many professionals, not sensationalism or wild claims. Today, one can travel to Italy and see the Eucharist that turned into flesh and has been miraculously preserved for many centuries. Or the Tilma of St. Juan Diego depicting the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a picture drawn by the Virgin Mary herself. These are gentle reminders of the central miracle of our Faith: The Eucharist, where Jesus continues to invite us for friendship and salvation.

REASON, FAITH

As we have seen, it is a condition that faith must make sense; that the item of faith we believe cannot be contrary to right reason. It can defy nature, but it cannot be opposed to it. An example would be Jesus raising someone from the dead; this defies nature and is worth believing because it is reasonable. And it is reasonable because Jesus is God and has the power to give life. Again, this example is of what defies nature but isn’t opposed to reason. An example of something that is opposed to reason is believing that the Universe is a product of chance. Or quoting what some religious people believe is that faith alone saves and does not matter what anyone does with their lives. This teaching is opposed to reason and is unbiblical. So, I wanted to reiterate the importance of understanding the difference between these two concepts.

FAITH A GIFT

We want to know God, which is necessary because you cannot love what you do not know. So, to love God, you first have to know him. And if you know him, you want to understand him as much as is humanly possible. Or at least understand stuff about him. When people hear that God is a ‘mystery,’ they think what this means is we cannot know or understand anything about him. But this isn’t true. God wants us to understand him enough to love him sincerely and deeply. And this understanding comes from study and prayer. The more we understand God or truths about Him, the more we know him personally. And the more we know him personally, the more our lives are transformed because we will come to resemble him. And the more we become like him, the more we want to know and love him. It is a never-ending cycle. Even though in this cycle, there’s a doubt that chases us, it is more of a curiosity than a destructive doubt. It is a hunger to know more and to understand more; some of this hunger will be satisfied with more study and growth in the interior life, but it has a limit in this present life.

Faith is the content of what is proposed for belief and the act of believing it. But it is more than this; it is mostly the life that comes from holding the truths believed. Most people see faith as trusting that what we pray for will happen, but this is only a tiny part of what faith is. Faith is an enabling gift that raises the eyes of the mind, of reason, to see things beyond its natural scope. We can accept and reorient our lives entirely because we can ‘see.’ When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and faith, we can ‘see’ as the Apostles did and bear witness with our lives, defying nature. This is a natural consequence of faith and not a by-product. Action propelled by love follows a lively faith in God and is a direct proof of it. 

So, it is more than a psychological exercise; it is a special gift of God that moves one’s entire being. The mind is illuminated by new truths and sees great light in the new ‘sight’ it receives. And the will is animated to action by the fire of love that proceeds the knowledge of God and the vision it has received in faith. And the whole being is filled with this light and love that it cannot contain itself but break forth in speech and race to another to announce, ‘I have found the Messiah.’ (John 1:41)

God ‘shows’ us this new reality and opens our eyes to see it. So, both the proposition of new truth and the gift of faith to accept it come from God.

THE CHURCH

But that is not all that God does; he also gives us the deposit of faith to protect, teach, and, through his Spirit, expand. When Jesus sent his Apostles, he gave them the same power he received from the Father, who is the Holy Spirit and commissioned them to act in his place. To speak with his authority, he assures them that whoever listens to them listens to God (Luke 10:16), so they are effectively the voice of Christ on earth. This is valuable since the truth we believe is not a product of each person’s imagination but a glimpse into a reality beyond our scope. So these truths flow from God himself and pass through a stable, infallible authority to reach us. These truths are unchanging and unfailing, so it makes sense that the authority that guards and teaches it be equally so.

First, it was the words of the Old Testament and after that of God himself in Christ. In the New Testament, we have a unique participation in the life of God and a covenant that will never be replaced. Then, the Apostles went around preaching and established the Church around their assembly so that wherever they gathered was the Church of Jesus Christ. “Where the bishop is, there is the Church” (St Ignatius of Antioch). It is so because the authority of Jesus completely rests on the Bishops in communion with the Pope, who are the successors of the Apostles and St Peter, respectively. So, they have been given the singular task of guarding the deposit of faith, teaching it, and adapting the truth to new situations as the years go by. This is particularly important because faith must contend with new challenges, or else it becomes a stale tradition stuck in the past.

The Catholic Church, the true Church of the Apostles, is the guardian of the truth in the modern world. And because she is a living organism, she grows to meet the challenges of the modern age and expresses the same old truths of God in a language and manner understandable and new to every generation.

In our other tracts, we discussed the point of the Church and its function; it is worth reading. God is the sole object of our faith – he is the one we see when we open our spiritual eyes. Looking at the world, we see him still in everything, so this new sight leads to a practical but positive restructuring of our lives to include a new reality. Imagine feeling hopeless and hungry without any chance of relief until finally hearing the good news that your hunger will soon be satisfied and abundance is on the horizon. This newfound hope makes the hunger seem less intense, allowing you to pick yourself up, clean up, and approach life with a fresh perspective. This is a terrible analogy compared to the nobility of the gift of faith we receive. Still, it sheds a little light on the practical reorientation of our entire worldview when we receive faith.

Through the family, the Church teaches us the first lessons of the truths of faith and, through them, expresses our Faith in God even in our infancy. So that the parents can instruct us in faith as we grow alongside the catechisms we receive.

But there must come a time when the individual takes the rein of the search themselves and seeks the God of truth more consciously, having been fed the truths of God.

GROWING IN FAITH

It is the responsibility of every Catholic to make sense of their faith and, consequently, practically encounter God. Many adults who have been Catholics for decades feel content with the catechisms they learned from their parents, if any, and those they learned before holy communion. The content of the catechism one should know as an adult is the big book of unabridged catechism, but compare that with the tiny booklet we studied as kids. And before you say that’s too much learning, it should be learned slowly but steadily throughout a person’s life. That is not too much task, seeing that this is for our good, because this will plunge us deeper into the mystery of God. We can begin to seek God where he can be found and stop groping around in the dark in dangerous places where God does not reside.

A lack of faith leads to so many disasters in parenting when we look at our kids’ emotional, psychological, and spiritual adjustment today. Where their priorities lie are a testament to the strength of the faith with which they were raised. As the great Dom Chautard says in the “Soul of the Apostolate,”: “The spiritual generation is always one degree less intense in its life than those who beget it in Christ.”

To paraphrase a saying from the same book: If the parent is a saint, the child will be fervent; if the parent is fervent, the child will be pious; if the parent is pious, the child will at least be decent. But

If the parent is only decent, the child will be godless.

It takes way more than you can imagine to be a saint in this life – it is a life of fiery love and the strongest of faith and usually one fraught with so many trials and temptations. Still, all endured for the love of the Crucified Jesus. This is an extremely difficult feat to achieve for most people because it requires constant awareness, and most people can barely give God two hours every Sunday without losing focus at mass. If they’re not chitchatting at mass, they’re responding to WhatsApp messages, taking meaningless pictures, or catching the eyes of everyone they think is looking at them. Sanctity is far from those who cannot focus on heavenly matters because faith requires this. Faith requires that we view the world from the perspective of heaven! That is it. 

It requires that we are constantly aware of being in God’s presence and comport ourselves accordingly. We love others with courage and do our jobs diligently. And when we kneel to pray, we give it our all and fight against distractions that will inevitably come. But it requires that we do not distract ourselves. This is difficult for all of us, but being aware of this task helps so we can struggle to get it right and grow from none of the time to some of the time to most of the time, and eventually, all of the time. If we must run, we must first become accustomed to walking, striding, and, ultimately, running.

We must start the journey from somewhere, and right now is an excellent time to start.

We can begin by going to a sincere confession and actually being sorry for our many sins. And after that, we can vow never to stop trying no matter how often we fall back to old sinful habits. Then, we can take on new devotions, especially one that revolves around the Eucharist. I recommend visiting the Blessed Sacrament for an hour at least once a week. This can be one single visit or split into two or three. But eventually, the goal should be to increase this depending on job and family life. We prioritize God, and the closer we draw to him, the closer he draws to us. 

We also intensify our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, through whose intercession the Lord Jesus Christ grants us many graces. She birthed the Body of Christ to which we belong, and she will aid our new life in Christ if we run to her for help.

Then we can begin to purity our intention towards God. Many people cannot commit to a prayer life if it does not involve squeezing something out of God and, in most cases, abandoning prayer afterward. Our ultimate goal is to connect with God, not to seek material possessions or favors from Him. As we strengthen our faith, our devotion to God will also increase, helping us recognize the nobility in pursuing Him with such pure intentions.

Growing in faith also requires that we do more than the bare minimum. One may eventually enter heaven in the end doing this, but this would require taking the risk of dancing on the line between salvation and damnation. The barest minimum is the line below which one is not expressing any show of Faith, which is not a good place to be. So, we must do more than the barest to be safe. The point is, if our sole target is to do the least, and we know we are prone to falling short, falling short of the barest minimum is death, and there’s no wisdom in shooting for the bottom.

The harsh truth is many people will lose their souls. Even many people we deem holy because of their external mighty works. And this is because external works must flow from a life internally united with Christ in holiness. There is no shortcut to reaching heaven except by having faith enough to do the work of God, but first, the work of doing sincere penance for one’s sins. We must repent and receive the Gospel and live it or at least sincerely struggle to live it for the rest of our lives. No matter how much work we do in the Church, this interior work must come first, or we risk losing our souls. 

And this is why we must begin by building a solid spiritual life rooted in informed and mature Faith in Christ. We must start to trade in our soft, oversimplified faith for something more mature and intricate, benefiting adults. We cannot be professors of this and that course and be only kindergarteners in the faith. We may not be professors in the faith. Still, we must have a mature, working understanding of it in grown-up terms so that we can catch a clear vision of the Living God and inspire others to see God without hindering His light working in and through us. So that when we come to the Church, we can be filled with awe and wonder, being temples of God in the Temple of God. Being in God and in the presence of God at once. We can marvel at the wonders of things our inner eyes can see: Jesus flaming with infinite love, sitting on his throne, and waiting for us in the Eucharist.

We can then genuflect like we are aware Jesus is indeed there and speak to him in a calm, hush tone as a lover speaking to his beloved. We can then attend mass with a spirit of wonder, gratitude, and pride for our glorious faith, which scandalizes the world. We can be grateful for the privilege of the faith passed down to us, preserved through the sacrifice and bloodshed of many. And we can humble ourselves in their company as we unite our voices with theirs to give glory to the Eternal King of Heaven and Earth whose power is seen in simple places and who has given the Church the “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” on earth. We can be filled with triumphant joy as we sing the Gloria and lift our hearts to praise Jesus, who suffered and died for us. And in the profession of our faith, we can make the words our own because our whole being will then shine with the light of understanding as we utter the words.

And as the priest lifts the Bread of Heaven with his blessed hands, we can be lifted up and be drawn to Christ in his passion, and each time, we can die a little more to sin, to the flesh and the world. We can become more and more transformed into the Spiritual Food we consume. And become free from the bondage of our earthly concerns and way of life. We can go home shining with the Eternal Light of Christ, being Jesus in a world eclipsed in darkness.

Faith means that we can pierce into the darkness of the blinding light of God and encounter the unknown God, and in that encounter, not only know him but become transformed into him. And in the Charity which must attend the faith bring this God into the world. A world that does not know him. We must then be a source of healing to the brokenness of the world and its culture and a source of preservation for all that is noble, good, just, and true.

CONCLUSION

There is a perceived circumscription, restriction, and limitation in a life lived for God, which is why so many people run away from even the faintest idea of living a spiritual life. But no one stops to see the borderless freedom this life actually affords those who live it. This is why contemplating and growing in the faith cannot be overemphasized. We begin to chase what is truly valuable and give our lives in the process. Because in the seeming restriction set by the laws of God, we find the freedom to truly become ourselves. Imagine what you could be if you had absolute freedom from sin, freedom to manifest your true identity and power without being constantly weighed down by sin or interrupted by your weakness. This is a life promised to us by God, which will be ours in part in this life but in full in the next. But we must put in the work; we must labor and study to become competent in the ways of God. To become masters in this journey and lead those in our care as diligently as possible through the dangerous, obscure, narrow road to heaven.

May your faith be firm and true. Amen.

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Kenneth C. Alimba

Kenneth C. Alimba is a Catholic who believes that the only RIGHT way to view the world is through the eyes of God - so he spends his life teaching people how to attempt to make this a habit as he tries to do the same.

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