So, Faith is not brainwashing, or blind belief, or self-hypnosis. Got that? I sympathise with any seeker-after-truth whose experience of Christianity is based on contact with brainwashed self-hypnotised, blind believers, the evidence for which is undeniable.
Well, this is this Catholic’s answer to what Faith is: It is an undeserved gift, that opens the mind to a transcendent dimension never before expected or experienced by that mind. It results in a paradigm shift in one’s perception of reality.
That might sound a bit hippy-trippy, and I must admit that I think a lot of mind altering drug use is driven by the innate human hunger for contact with this transcendent kingdom, though in the case of drug and alcohol abuse, it is initiated from the sub-transcendent state, rather than by invitation from above. It is a kind of gate-crashing of the Heavenly realm. Sadly, gate-crashers often crash the wrong venues and suffer the consequences, which can be disabling or fatal.
That hunger is succinctly stated by St Augustine:
Our heart is restless until it rests in You
That You is of course God. He is a person, and resting in a person is another way of describing a loving relationship with them. No amount of academic studying of love songs and poetry can prepare one for actually falling in Love. (It is in fact more of a rising than a falling, and is contrary to the gravity we are all familiar with).
Faith is being continuously sown by God, but it doesn’t always land in a receptive and fertile place. Spiritual blindness, deafness, dumbness and lameness in the recipient stifle its reception and growth. Sometimes, sadly, these disabilities are carefully nurtured by their sufferers as they have learned to live with their crippledness-what hope is there for these?
Jesus can heal all these people, but He must first be invited to do so, either by the sufferers themselves or by concerned others. I am thinking of the cripple lowered down through the roof by his friends, as pictured above.
When John the Baptist sent two disciples to enquire about Our Lord:
…Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them.