No Forced Faith

In Christianity on December 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Today’s post is the second in a three-part series (see the bullet list, below).

No forced feelings:  The first post in this series points out that the Catholic Christian does not rely on feelings, but rather, on the fact of Christ’s atonement. The merit of His death for us is made ours by grace through faith, the benefits of which are lovingly conveyed in the Sacraments.

No forced faith:  This second post reminds us that true conversion never rests on forced faith. Just as one should not rely on feelings, one cannot rely on forced faith. “Forced faith” is an oxymoron—two contradictory terms, employed simultaneously. True faith is the willing response of the heart, prompted by God’s Holy Spirit, not something we prompt in ourselves.

Do you have true faith—or are you relying on self-prompted (forced) faith more akin to an empty hope.  “Oh, I have faith.” “Faith in what?” must be the corresponding question. Faith without content is no more than a fleeting wish; a hope that there may be something more to life, without knowledge of where, or in Whom, to find it.

This is why Holy Scripture declares, “Faith is the realization of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith in faith is circular; a dog chasing its tail. True faith is based on objective knowledge, based on reality outside ourselves, accompanied by the realization that knowledge is true. That personal realization is evidence of God’s work in our lives.

God at work prompting faith!  “He is a God fully functioning,” as Paul Claudel writes in A Poet Before the Cross.¹ That is Christianity Richly!

¹ See “The Reality of It All,” footnote number one, for more on Claudel’s grace-filled meditation.

  1. […] post No Forced Faith points out that the phrase “forced faith” includes two completely contradictory terms. […]

  2. […] the Cross, over the past six years. See Lenten Reading, Say What You Mean, The Reality of It All, No Forced Faith, Lent is Approaching, and Entering Holy Week […]

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