belief

The essence of faith

Thoughts about the center of our lives

Dear Reader,

This post (please read it here) is currently the last in this series. Due to the extremely large amount of duties, which reached me in my life in parallel, I had to suspend the blog. Many thanks for reading my essays so far! If you are a new visitor, please have a look to the 58 essays published here between 2017 and 2020. Wishing you safe times and a New Normality after the 2020 corona virus pandemic,

Peter Csermely

 


1. What we mistakenly believe about faith. Faith is not a task. Faith does not have any advantage or objective. We do not believe to be rewarded. Faith is not a barter trade. „I believe in You, my Lord, and You take care of my salvation in return.” Faith is not a refuge that is used by people only when getting into a big trouble. We do not pray because we want to reach something that otherwise cannot be reached but… We do not go to a congregation because it helps us spiritually or because that’s how we can live an honest life but… (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How to put the essence of faith in words? „Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” (Hebrews 11:1) As Calvin pointed out, this sentence, which almost alone „defines” faith in the Bible, naturally cannot give a complete description about the nature of faith. At the same time it provides us with three very important clues: that of hope, trust and confidence. The one who believes, trusts in things hoped for and is convinced of the meaning of life, his own place in the world, his love relation with Jesus, his future, the good order of his life and death despite of that he cannot see all this with his own eyes. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 


3. Faith as a subjective confession. For me faith is accepting mercy. Faith and its deepening are continuous events in our lives. Faith is a state of being. In the 18th-19th century’s France St. John Vianney was famous for that the line of those whose complaints and grievances he heard snaked in front of his church from morning to evening. He owed a lot to an old peasant who did nothing but only sitting in his church for days. Then he went to the old man: "May I ask you what you are doing here?” "I am not doing anything, I am just sitting here and looking at Christ. And He is looking at me.” For me this story (about contemplation which leads us to action) is somehow the essence of faith. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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How can we reach peace?

Thoughts about the power of faith when we feel that the light has run out…

 

1. Our age: the age of unrest. It is not the uncontrolled temper but the extravagance of the soul that represents unrest in today’s ‘developed’ countries. We are unable to calm down. We are unable to appreciate what we have. We are unable to get satisfied. We are unable to get on well together. The spaciousness of a love community’s inner space is endless. Let’s make an attempt to let our isolation and unrest free in these immeasurably spacious inner dimensions! (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. Why is uncertainty good and how can it be tolerated? There is worse than isolation in the weeks of corona virus epidemic.” Many would say. “And this is uncertainty.” Let me remind ourselves that we haven’t known anything until now either but we convinced ourselves to forget about this in the ecstasy of rush. Tolerating uncertainty is a key virtue. Only tolerating uncertainty leads us to real, creative and new solutions. All changes of existing situations generate uncertainty. Uncertainty is a necessary corollary of the reorganization of complexity by a creative change. We imprison ourselves if we do not tolerate uncertainty. If we can establish uncertainty-tolerance in ourselves now, we can prepare for future changes successfully. For we can tolerate uncertainty, we have to believe in something. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How can we reach peace? The power of faith – when we feel that the light has run out… For we can find peace after unrest, we have to believe in something. For me the essence of faith is the certainty of belonging: to not less than Totality. The certainty that Totality, God accepts and embraces me, not because of my own virtues but due to the sacrifice of Jesus. Years ago I was sure that light and love show the way on the path of faith. Recently, I understood that nothing has been lost even if we cannot see the light and cannot feel the love-avalanche covering us either. Because faith, the certainty of belonging, does remain. Faith gives birth to hope again. Hope creates love. And love creates light. Not from us, not for us, but as the gift of God, of mercy. There is stability in the middle of uncertainty. This stability does not hide from us but offers a helping hand to us. Let us accept it! (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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The difference between hope and expectations

Lenten thoughts about the power of faith

 

 

1. A life of expectations is a trap. A lot of people adjust their lives to the expectations of their environment. In most of the cases the expected benefit of fulfilling the expectations is gaining acceptance, sympathy and love. In our human world love quite often becomes the means of emotional blackmailing. The most dangerous expectations are those, which we have of ourselves. The distance between our expectations and reality is not anything else but the pain in ourselves. We should not consider our life goals as expectations but as desires. A man free of expectations remains self-identical. However, it is much more valuable even than this, if we do not link our desires to specific things but we let them out and long for the good in general. Longing for the good in general is hope.  (If you would like to read more about this, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

2. The power of hope. Nowadays it is not trendy to hope. Despite of this: hope is much more than desire. Hope doesn’t wish to reach a certain goal but to increase good. Hope creates the possibility of good’s infinity in our lives. Hope delivers us from the slavery of specific goals because it breaks the wall of our egos with what is stronger than anything else in this world: the love of God. (If you would like to read more about this, please, read my essay here.)

 

3. Why is faith much more than hope? Faith is the total and unequivocal certainty in the Gospel of redemption and resurrection. That’s why faith becomes a huge power. Because faith breaks down the walls between us and God. If we live in faith, God bathes us in Himself with showering joy and shows us new and new colors of His Totality and love each day. As our faith develops, it slowly shapes the Face and Figure of God’s only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ in us. This is how hope becomes reality. (If you would like to read more about this, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

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Can the Devil be domesticated?

How can we overcome our faults?

 

   

 

1. Our attempts to domesticate the Devil. We like the little, comfortable compromises in our lives: I have had a little virtue then I will have now a little (oops, sorry, sometimes I go too far, and then: a big...) sin. That is not working. The Devil cannot be domesticated! Mercy can only be complete if I have opposed the sin, if I have realized its depth, if I have named the Devil, if I have refused it, and if I want to live a different life after all these. From this point of view there is no a tiny little sin and a bigger one. What is important is the approach to sin (Devil) and God. I stand either on one side or the other. It is impossible to dance around between the two. (For further details, please, read my essay here.)

 

   

 

2. The fight against sin. If we have realized that it is impossible to make a compromise with the Devil then for the everyday thinking only one thing remains: the fight against the Devil – till death. But our own fight against the Devil is a hopeless and useless one. A sin-centric life is a dead end. There is no self-mercy. It is not our own fight that defeats the sin in us. Our own efforts are too small for this, are zero, nothing. It is only Christ born within us who is able to overcome the sin in us. There is no other way. Thus the fear of God is not a servile fear of God’s punishment, which presumes our separation from God, but an admiration of God’s true greatness revealed for us and a determined protection of the love-communion connecting us with God. All this does not mean that I would think: we do not need any kind of fight against our sins and faults because "God will take care of them". No! Mercy is not for free. Just to get close to God makes us feel Christ’s and the Father’s immense pain when they see our sins, makes us hate these sins and helps avoid them. (For further details, please, read my essay here.)

 

   

 

3. How can we overcome our faults? Neither with "making good on them". Nor only with fighting against them. We can overcome our faults only with accepting Jesus and with protecting the love-communion we have with the Father by all means, relying on Their power. Thus the source of repelling sin is the attraction to Jesus and the Father. That is how we ourselves become able to be peace- and love-sources in our environments. (For further details, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

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