Keeping the faith

By Father Eugene Hemrick

Catholic News Service

The Human Side

Do you feel like the world is coming apart – and that keeping faith in it has become exceedingly difficult? The causes of this despondency can range from leaders who spend more time criticizing one another than confronting climate change to fights over vaccines, "the big lie" and civility itself.

Added to this, our moral compass is out of sync. Secularism, which believes we do not need God, is on the rise. When order is disrupted, disorder reigns – as do bizarreness and chaos. Worse is the loss of faith, and lacking a sense of trust and commitment.

How, then, do we maintain faith amid mind-blowing godlessness?

One meaning of life is that we are en route – on a journey, constantly needing updating, an "aggiornamento." A misconception of faith is to think it was dropped into our laps from heaven and will always be strong. As heavenly as it is, it is prone to human weakness.

Patience counsels, "Don't let anything break your spirit." Today's news, however, is often a spirit-breaker. To realize this, just reflect on how well we sleep after experiencing disturbing news.

In an age of spirit-breaking, faith would counsel that we examine our journey to check if we might need to change its direction. What needs to be rearranged to make us more well-disposed?

Have we taken an account of the ratio between negativity and positivity we ingest? When did we last try to increase our positive outlook and lower our negativity? Have we checked what is most influencing us in our thinking and worldview?

Do we ever think of God's providence? Although our world may seem to be falling apart, do we ever ask if God is challenging us providentially to rethink how precious our faith is, to realize it is the glue that keeps us unified within ourselves and needs continuous care?

Undoubtedly, much of today's dysfunctionality exists – causing us to see our world coming apart and attacking our faithfulness. The positive side of this distress is that it prompts us to go within ourselves to check where our faith really is and to consider the strength needed to sustain it.

Father Eugene Hemrick writes for the Catholic News Service column "The Human Side."