January 15, 2006
THE ILOCOS TIMES - OPINION

ANALYSIS
Fr. Roy Cimagala

How do you measure faith?

THAT indeed is a very difficult question to answer. Yes, difficult, and yet urgently relevant. We just need to find a way of measuring it, so that we can effectively use it and properly manage it. You see, faith is crucial in our life.

Nowadays, with all the personal, family, social and political problems we are facing, itís becoming clear that we cannot rely solely on our reasoning, no matter how brilliant it may be. Much less can we rely on our material resources?

Faith has to come in. It has to play the irreplaceable role assigned to it in our life. Faith is our ultimate source of knowledge, our final guide and light.

This is because first of all we are all creatures of faith, regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. Thus, we need to find the right faith and to make it grow and govern our life.

Of course, insofar as it is a supernatural gift from God, as is the case of Christian faith, we can readily say that there is no way to measure it, much less manage it, etc.

But then again, as a human response to such a supernatural gift that clearly can have tremendous effects on persons, societies and cultures, it must be open to some measurement, it must need to be managed.

In fact, I believe that without being scientific about it, we have been measuring it in some way. Otherwise, we cannot say that a person has a lot of faith, or has a little faith, or even has no faith at all.

Not only that, we even say that this society or that community still has the faith or is losing it. We say that this person is consistent with his faith or not, or that faith is inspiring oneís thoughts or actions, or not.

We also cannot forget that for Christian believers, faith is something revealed in many ways, and ultimately and perfectly in Christ, the fullness of revelation who came, taught and empowered us through the Church so we can have a living faith, not a dead, formalistic one.

All these can only mean that faith, while supernatural and immersed mainly in spiritual realities, can somehow be measured and managed. It has specific doctrines and other things that need to be attended to by us.

Definitely, we can do things with it to make it effectively govern our lives, as it should.

But how many are systematically studying and assimilating the Catechism? How many are making the earnest effort to apply the doctrines of our faith in their lives, personal, family, social, cultural, political, etc.?

Especially these days when our social and political life is getting more complex, how many are studying and applying the social doctrine of the Church, an integral part of our faith so crucial for our social and political sanity?

These efforts are most of the time taken for granted, ignored, even ridiculed. In fact, I hardly have met any catechist who is also a professional man, well endowed not only materially but also intellectually and spiritually.

The typical catechist Iíve met is an old woman, the usual parish mouse looking worn-out by age, problems and other responsibilities. This is a shameful phenomenon. This is a slap on our faces, we who pride ourselves to be Christians.

Meanwhile, we see people who are supposed to be Christian faithful, relying simply on their guts and whatever traces of intelligence they have to tackle our human affairs. And what are the results?

Mainly, disasters. The results are often unspeakably ugly.

We need to take our faith more seriously. And there are many ways we can do to make it vibrant, relevant, grow and spread, and become the very ethos of our culture.

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OPINION

EDITORIAL
The Ties That Bind

... IN & OUT - Highlights

... IN & OUT (2) - Inside stuff

... SERIOUS BUSINESS - Benefiting from the Sisterhood Agreement

... IN-DEPTH - Constitution as soapbox

... ANALYSIS - How do you measure faith?

... ANALYSIS (2) - The clergy and politics ... KA IKING 4U - Pump-priming local development