In an age of uncertainty it seems as though this attitude has infected many who believe in Jesus. These are some things I hear people say that suggest this.
When discussing and disagreeing about doctrine people say, “I guess we will find out when we meet Jesus.” Or, “Maybe you are right, maybe I am right – who can know?”
It seems to me as though this is a faith that is built on sand, ever shifting, with no foundation. The tide will push and pull it this way and that until it falls. Then we have a cranky Catholic who isn’t going to Mass and find fault with the Church at every turn. This is not what Jesus wants for us.
Jesus is described in the Bible as being a stone. But He is stone in two senses. For the believer, He is a foundation stone that can be stood upon and built upon. But for the unbeliever, Jesus becomes a stone that causes you to stumble. Listen to St. Peter who is quoting the Old Testament here:
1 Peter 2:6 For it stands in scripture: "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame." To you therefore who believe, he is precious, but for those who do not believe, "The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner," and "A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall"; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
Now listen to Jesus:
Matthew 7:24 "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."
So this is not the kind of faith that we can cultivate. What do you think is that cause of this kind of sandy faith?
I think that there are several factors, but the first is poor education in the faith. Many people believe that because they had twelve years of Catholic education, served as an altar boy, or served as a lector that these kinds of experiences have given them a sufficient knowledge of the faith, and possibly at that time they had. Then they left those elementary institutions and continued on with their vocational studies while neglecting to study their faith at a deeper level. They then are deep in the world looking at it through the lenses of an elementary education and one of four things could happen I think:
1. The first person didn’t originally care in school and they don’t care now.
2. The second person, if they had doubts about the faith before – continuing education just confirmed that doubt and they continued out the church door.
3. The third person wants to remain Catholic while at the same time holding on to the doubts and falsehoods.
4. The forth person sees the challenges and realizes that they have to step up their faith and begin to search for answers.
Another large factor is pride. Folks feel like they know more about the faith again, because they had that basic education and experiences.
Finally, we are all a bit lazy. We aren’t encouraged many places outside of EWTN and the like radio and TV to study the faith. Yet this is something we need to do weekly if not daily.
So what is the solution to this sandy faith?
Something I have been encouraging people to do as of late is to read the lives of the saints. When you read the lives of the saints you get to see what actually happens to people when they live the faith. This reading should remove some of the fear that people feel when they finally choose to live the faith. It should also inspire them to in fact deepen their faith. They will see that as a Church and as individuals that Christ has not abandoned us, but desires a radical relationship with us unlike any we could have with anyone on earth.
I recommend Matt and Colleen Swaim's book for those going into any kind of continuing education.