I have rather hated the stereotype that religious people need religion as a crutch. Prayers, Scripture, faith itself, they say, are all wishful thinking that bring comfort to the elderly, the poor, and the disabled. “Poor things. Let them have their church.”
For me, religion has been much more of a challenge than a comfort. It was in the beginning and it is still now. But it would be foolish of me to push away the comforting and consoling aspect of faith just so that I won’t fall into prejudicial people’s stereotypes. When turning to God intentionally, with my whole body, mind, heart, and soul, it is good and it is right to receive from God some solace. No one loves me more than God loves me, no one delights in me more than God delights in me, no one cares about my joy more than God cares about my joy, and no one else has my eternal life in hand but God. Knowing this, to whom else would I turn?
Lately, for almost all of 2017 so far, I have been in need of solace. I need comfort and, for me, that means that I need wisdom. I need a glimpse of the big picture so that, in faith, I may know what is right and have peace. I need a full relationship with God. I freely admit this. Does this mean, then, that religion has become a crutch for me? Well, if I am lame, don’t I need a crutch? Would the atheistic-minded naysayers of the world have me crawl or lie motionless on the ground? The mistake that nonbelievers make is in thinking that they are not crippled in the limitedness of being human. They are limping, crawling, or not moving at all – and they don’t even know it.
As Basic As Food
Your body needs nourishment. When you are hungry, do you not eat? When you are thirsty, do you not drink? If you care at all for the life of your body, then you take care of your body by giving it the sustenance that it essentially needs.
Nonbelievers don’t believe in the existence of the soul, but believers do. And this belief of ours is not necessarily due to wishful thinking (it hasn’t been on my part). Rather, we are not so limited in our understanding of life and existence as to think that there exists only what can be perceived, in one way or another, with one tool or calculation or another, by the five physical senses and the grasping of the human brain. We are not so naïve as that. We are not so arrogant to think that the universe – and the cause behind the universe – can fit into our limited brains.
We have taken a leap of faith – not to belief in the nonexistence of God and spirit, but to belief in the real existence of God and spirit. The unknowable is unknowable, and atheists and believers fall on either side of the divide.
I am a believer.
The human soul needs nourishment. Spiritual nourishment, because the soul is of spirit. There are times in my life when I feel my soul’s need, my soul’s hunger and thirst, and I give to my soul what is needed for sustenance. This is practical and reasonable. In those times when I need the strength of my spirit, I feed upon Sacred Scripture, Sacraments, and prayer. Then, my soul has what is required to do what my soul needs to do – live fully, live well, embracing divine grace and reflecting divine love.
To refuse to experience the comfort and solace of this is like refusing to eat when you are hungry or drink when you are thirsty.
I am fully alive.
© 2017 Christina Chase
I don't call myself a poet — but the beating of my heart is poetry. I don't call myself a theologian — but the light of my mind seeks the Divine. Who I am is a Child of God, a Divine Creation, a person devoted to being fully human, fully alive.