Open Forum: ‘Deep awakening of faith’

Posted: January 9, 2013

In the extensive media coverage of the horrific event in Newtown, Conn., it seems no mention has been made of how the families are coping. A letter from the sister of one of the priests ministering to them relates that “no media coverage has even touched the deep beautiful awakening of faith that has occurred there. The church has been full of people in prayer without ceasing since this tragedy happened.”

A deep awakening of faith. What can that possibly mean to the media? Just some desperate people indulging in wishful thinking? This is the prevailing view among the cultural elite. Faith, as is famously said, means believing in something for which there is no evidence.

But evidence is being given in the lives of those who have suffered this tragic loss, lives which are being changed in the deepest way possible. They have turned to God and have found a solace great enough to meet their loss. Nothing in the realm of science, no drugs, or soul-denying psychologist, can give this solace. It comes from the deep realization that we are in the hands of a loving Father who can bring peace in every situation, because reality is greater than the limited human mind can possibly realize.

This is not wishful thinking. Wishful thinking can’t carry people through terrible adversity. These people, who perhaps have not known the deep levels of their faith, are now plumbing those depths in their awful grief. And their lives will be forever changed. Grief remains, but becomes the opening through which God is encountered in the deep recesses of the soul. He is grasped in a new way, without concepts, beyond the doctrines known since childhood. He is simply present, and a deep peace ensues.

It was this divine presence which moved the first Christians to forsake everything, facing even martyrdom, to keep this pearl of great price. It was for the sake of giving this life to others that missionaries went forth to face hardship and death. They did not go with sword in hand to force followers into the fold. Their mission was to give to others what had been given to them — life in God

Given the influx of millions over the centuries who only superficially accepted Christ, this reality became less than prominent and the light of the Church was greatly dimmed. But Christ promised the Church would never fail and so there have always been those who carry on his work. The efforts of the parish priests in Newtown are similar to those of the early followers of Christ — to give Christ’s life-giving truth to those who seek it. The letter-writer attests to a deep awakening of faith. Such an awakening is the only thing great enough to bring good out of this horror.

Sadly, all this is nonsense to the “wise.” With intellects capable of dominating the material world around them, they see themselves as capable of judging God. By arbitrarily limiting reality only to what is apprehended by the senses, God, who cannot be seen, touched, or heard, is declared to be nonexistent.

But man, as he has been known through the ages, also ceases to exist. In the eyes of science, he is seen as a soulless array of molecules, an accident of nature, no longer a creature of God with inalienable rights. If science is the total truth, then there is no basis for human rights and man will be manipulated as any other piece of matter, as the godless regimes of the past hundred years have shown.

A haunting song came out in the sixties, titled, “Who Will Answer?” It spoke of the tragic consequences of our actions, the anguish for which no one could alleviate. What can philosophers or scientists answer? They have pondered the world around us for centuries, yet nothing from their writings can give solace to such as those grieving parents. But they are receiving comfort, from a source which the elite despise.

D.F. McNeill is an E-Edition subscriber and a former resident of Front Royal. He currently resides in Liberty, Mo.