SPIRIT

Have a lit­tle faith– but in what? what­ever our reli­gion, we’ve all asked our­selves tough ques­tions we might not al­ways get con­crete an­swers to.

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Feel -

“i was raised in a very re­li­gious fam­ily, but i don’t nec­es­sar­ily be­lieve the same things–what should i do?” There comes a point when we start to ques­tion the things that used to be, ehem, gospel truth. “The first thing is to re­flect on the root of dis­agree­ment. You also need to be able to ex­press what you do and don’t be­lieve in,” says the­olo­gian Steph Puen. “You are en­ti­tled to be­lieve in what you want,” adds pro­fes­sor of the­ol­ogy Miko Galvez, who rec­om­mends hav­ing a se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion if there is ten­sion. “Al­low all sides to talk, not be­cause you want to con­vert the other, but so that you can ar­rive at some mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and re­spect. Put your­self in their shoes so that you can ap­pre­ci­ate why they be­lieve what they be­lieve, all the while be­ing re­spect­ful and keep­ing emo­tions in check.” And try to re­mem­ber: like in any re­la­tion­ship, the dif­fer­ences you have don’t nec­es­sar­ily di­min­ish your love. We al­ways hear one form of it or an­other, espe­cially in try­ing times: “God has a plan for you.”

“It’ll hap­pen in due time.” “Ba­hala na si Bat­man.” And while it may be com­fort­ing to hear that some­one has your back, re­ly­ing only on that faith could be keep­ing you from true hap­pi­ness. “I’m sus­pi­cious of the idea of ‘God’s plan’ that sim­ply un­folds for peo­ple, as if we are just pas­sively wait­ing for things to hap­pen. Push­ing it to the ex­treme would be dan­ger­ous— blam­ing higher pow­ers for our own fail­ures or re­fus­ing to ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for our mis­takes,” says Galvez. “Catholic the­ol­ogy stresses that cre­ation is on­go­ing in the sense that God sus­tains all cre­ation; thus all of cre­ation de­pends on God,” adds Puen, clar­i­fy­ing, “How­ever, we shouldn’t pas­sively wait but rather co­op­er­ate; we aren’t pup­pets. Wait­ing may be part of it, but it should never be a pas­sive—it is an ac­tive wait­ing and work­ing with God to do good.” In a word, no. “There’s a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that doubt is the op­po­site of faith—as if ask­ing ques­tions were a bad thing! Doubt has its place as it al­lows peo­ple to grow and to ma­ture in faith,” says Galvez. If you’re both­ered by won­der­ing where you re­ally stand, Puen rec­om­mends tak­ing the time to re­flect on the things that are im­por­tant to you. “Fig­ur­ing out one’s faith and be­liefs alone can be dif­fi­cult; a com­mu­nity, con­fi­dante or spir­i­tual di­rec­tor helps. It is also help­ful to un­der­stand what one’s pur­pose is, and where you want to di­rect your life—be­ing able to ar­tic­u­late this helps clar­ify what you be­lieve in and what prin­ci­ples you es­pouse in mov­ing to­wards that pur­pose or goal.”

“i’m tired of wait­ing for ‘God’s plan’ to hap­pen. is there re­ally a greater spir­i­tual power look­ing out for me, and should i just keep wait­ing?” “i don’t know what i be­lieve. is there some­thing wrong with me?”

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