ISSUES OF FAITH: Look for life’s answers in the gospels

AS WE SEE an increase in those individuals who believe in “nothing” or “nones,” as they are commonly called, we see an increase in a lack of civility, rudeness, those attributes that mark someone as perhaps detached from the big picture that is commonly called humanity.

At the gym I belong to very few people converse or talk with one another.

Granted, when you are trying to work up a sweat conversation might not be priority No. 1 — it’s just that I remember it differently, which might mark me as an old man and if that’s the case, then I miss the old days.

Way back in the 1960s Pope Paul VI said, “The split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time.”

What did he mean; what was he saying? First of all, read the Gospels.

Next to prayer, it is the one thing I speak of the most, to groups or whomever. Read the Gospels.

You might not know that the Bible is the all-time best selling book ever (and always will be), so I’m saying maybe you should read it and see what all the fuss is about.

There is the added benefit of knowing that the main person you are reading about — Jesus of Nazareth — you will meet someday.

This shouldn’t scare you, it should put a smile on your face.

He answers questions you might have but truth, as we all know, can be painful.

It is also nicely liberating.

Recently I had a big decision looming before me.

I know what my gut told me to do, my heart as well.

But there was still an unsettling feeling, like when you leave home and feel as though you forgot something but can’t quite put your finger on it.

It just didn’t go away.

I did what I usually do — I devoted myself to prayer.

Basically, “God, what do you want me to do?”

I asked many times.

The answer didn’t come right away.

Sometimes God expects you to really work at it, be patient and keep imploring him.

I know one thing — when you ask God a question, in complete sincerity and humility, he will answer.

I reminded myself that I had to listen.

So I prayed and listened.

Three weeks or so later, a complete sense of peace came over me.

The answer was obvious and perfect.

I sat and thought about it, slept on it, and woke knowing what I had to do.

God has a plan for you, but you have to be part of that plan, or there’s not much he can do. And this is where the Holy Spirit comes into our lives.

Jesus talks a lot about the Holy Spirit, particularly when his passion is approaching.

So what is it?

First, it is the third person of the Trinity, truly the key to our own salvation.

The Holy Spirit is our guide in life; it whispers to us, it nudges us, it implores us — it is our “Advocate” as Jesus says. We cannot live a truly purposeful life if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.

This is easier said than done as we are creatures that kind of like control, but just look around at the world today and see where “control” has taken us.

“Luke, use the Force,” the great Jedi master said to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film.

This is really not a bad example of what the Holy Spirit does.

Luke did and he became a hero.

Imagine, this unseen force working for the good of humanity …

And yet it’s real.

So why are more and more people moving away from something that in all reality, is trying to help them (you know, like eternal life with God)?

Look at yourself, look at your family or look in your workplace and the answer seems to be — what?

The further we get away from the Gospel (the story of Jesus), the less reason we have for any hope, or life, outside of this.

So we’re living for right now and we’re sure this is making us happy, but come on, you know it isn’t. The heart is restless, but it’s not a permanent condition.

We are called as Christians to be witnesses to our faith but what is faith without joy, hope and love?

It’s what we were made for, and it’s not out of reach, but the tide in our country is turning away to something else, another form of escape that is fearful or ignorant of that beautiful light of Christ, the ear buds in, seeking asylum within ourselves.

“It’s not over till we say it’s over,” John Belushi in the 1978 movie “Animal House.”

It was a comedy and he said this somewhat in jest, but we get his point, and meaning for today: Be a good person, read and discover Jesus, speak to him and hear his voice and, oh, one more thing — “This I command you: love one another” — Jesus.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Mike Acheson is director of religious education at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim. His email is mikea@olypen.com.

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