In our darkest hours of doubt, how then should we live?
Every journey has rocky paths, dark valleys of uncertainty, and stretches of disillusionment.
In our most desperate times of unbelief, how then should we live?
I recently stumbled upon a reflection on the legend of Saint Christopher that I've found comforting.
A Service That Is Sure – Saint Christopher
“As a youth, Christopher was gifted in every way, except faith. He was physically strong, good-hearted, mellow, and well liked by all. He was also generous, using his physical strength to help others.
Despite his gifts, he found it hard to believe in God. This, however, did not prevent him from using his gifts to serve others. He became a ferry-boat operator, spending his life helping to carry people across a dangerous river.
One night, during a storm, the ferry-boat capsized and Christopher dove into the dark waters to rescue a young child. Carrying that child to the shore, he gazed upon the child and saw there the face of Christ.
The story gives us an answer, a practical one, to one of the most difficult questions of all: What should we do when our faith is weak?
Christopher’s answer: Use your gifts to help others.
God does not ask us to have faith that is certain, but a service that is sure.
God is neither angered nor threatened by an honest agnosticism. There are, for every one of us, dark nights of the soul, silences of God, cold lonely seasons, bitter times when God’s appearances to us cannot be truly grasped or recognized. But if we faithfully help carry others, we will one day find ourselves before the person of Christ.”
If you’re caught in times of unbelief, this is the perfect time to serve. Not as a way to "work your way" into God’s graces, but as a way to stay connected to your grand calling in your short time on earth.
And for many, service can be that first step on the road toward faith.
Doubt and debate are healthy responses to the largest questions of the universe, but even if we struggle to believe, let us never struggle to serve.
Here’s a tip and the one I give most often:
One hour per week.
In one hour you can change the life of a child through mentoring, advocate for a cause you believe in, serve food to the hungry, or tutor a disadvantaged student.
One hour per week. You probably spend more time in the shower over the course of seven days.
Are you in a time of unbelief? Commit to a service that is sure.
Source: Father Ron Rolheiser, Reflections For Lent
Photo Credit: Michigan Stained Glass Census