No about Magical Thinking
Faith will not always remove suffering, but it will make it bearable, and will suffuse it with a supernatural hope. Others can make this act of faith for the ones who are suffering until, helped by their prayers, they have enough strength to make it for themselves.
A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart--
The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (p. 243). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.
Many people believe that all they have to do after they grow up is simply go to church and that is enough. On Sunday without fail they and their families go to church, for an hour or two. Then the rest of the week can be for many, a time out from their faith. It is what is called ‘Practical Atheism”.
It can be easily forgotten in the 1st world that we actually have souls, immortal ones. Now that is not believed in by many, however, our deepest longings, as well as our intense inner lives, would seem to point to an aspect of ourselves that is non-material.
If we have a soul, how do we feed it, or rather, I should say, how do we nourish that part of ourselves that is the most real, even if hidden?
How one answers that will, of course, depend on their beliefs or lack of them. I have met atheists who believe that there is an afterlife, and believers conversely, who tell me that there is not. For those who believe, who actually hold to the proposition that our lives don’t end by hitting a brick wall (metaphorically speaking), and then eternal-nothingness. Need to ponder what that understanding of who they are, beings with an immortal soul leads them to think about. What are we here for? Our lives are a lot shorter than we often like to think about, it can cause anxiety in many, so the deeper questions about the ‘Last things’ are put off.
As a Christian, I can give my understanding of the reality of faith in Jesus Christ. He has presented to us the reality of God being Infinite Love (Agape). I would venture to say that if any Christian thinks that he or she understands that, then they are worshipping some sort of idol made up in their own heads. An idol is something that we can understand, so that makes it finite, and often because of that, brings out servile fear.
Jesus suffered deeply. I would say that one of the experiences ‘all’ humans have to go through if they survive birth and the first few years, will have to go through more than one “Gethsemane” experience. Where there is great suffering, and the sky is silent so to speak. Heaven seems empty and we are alone. I believe that the anguish that Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane was that reality. That often prayers seem not to be answered and there is suffering that will not let up and is like being in hell. Yet Jesus said “yes” to the Fathers’ will, as impalpable as that was. Yet it led after much suffering to his Resurrection.
Christians, in their suffering, know on some level that they are united to Jesus’s in his sufferings for the salvation of the world. As St. Paus says: “I make up in my body, what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ Jesus”. In other words, the passion of Jesus is lived out in each of our lives. The more we understand that and seek wisdom, the more we can withstand suffering without becoming bitter or sad to say, lose our faith. There is no magic man in the sky, but only, God-With-Us. The deeper we go into this mystery, the more we see our connection with ‘all’ because we are one with Jesus, becoming Jesus, and he lives in us for others.
No, we are not pampered, nor can we make deals with God, any more than Jesus could in the garden of Gethsemane with his Father.
As it says in the 12th chapter of Hebrews:
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
It is the fear of suffering, and how it fragments our faith that will often drive us to seek out ways to deal with our pain that only leads to deeper suffering. So again, trust, take the next step, and get through the day, each day, for it is in the present where we met the Father and lover of us all.-Br.MD
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