Faith is more than a feeling

The Easter season gives us plenty of time to ponder the mysteries of our faith and reaffirm what we believe.

From a human perspective, we can attempt to understand the passion and death of Jesus. But His resurrection and ascension into heaven, as well as the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, are a bit beyond human reasoning. We say we believe all of these things because we have faith, but what does that really mean? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and give himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life (CCC 26).

After 2000 years, time does not make the resurrection and ascension any easier to understand. Even the apostles, the men that spent the most time with Jesus, had a hard time understanding what happened. Of course the most extreme example is Thomas, who refused to believe the other apostles when they told him of seeing Jesus after the crucifixion, until the Lord appeared and invited him to touch the nail holes and spear mark. Most of us will not experience the physical presence of Jesus, and so faith is not based on the tangible.

Faith is also not just a good feeling. Performing good deeds, spending time with Jesus in prayer, and adoration may make us feel good, but that is not faith. Our feelings can change from day to day and even minute to minute. To base what we believe and act upon solely on how we feel can be dangerous and Satan can use our feelings to explain away sin. In the lives some of the saints, their faith was tested by withholding the good feeling; Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta is one example.

Faith is a gift from God. If we choose to accept it, then it will grow based on how much effort we put forth into having a relationship with Him. It cannot be measured by the physical sciences and it cannot be diluted into a warm, fuzzy sense of being. It is as diverse as the population of the earth, since it reflects the uniqueness of a personal relationship with the Divine. Even the the most faith-filled person can have doubts from time to time. It is in these times of questioning that we can dive more deeper into a relationship with our Almighty Creator and our Savior.

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