by James Paulin
Many people are deprived of one or more of their five senses. Did you ever wonder how you would cope with being blind, deaf or dumb or even lack the ability to feel the sensation of feeling or smelling? Certainly everyone enjoys the benefits of all the senses even though most take them for granted, however, few take full advantage of their potential. Eyesight may be 20/20, hearing may be able to detect a pin dropping, smell may be quite acute, feel may be ultra sensitive and taste may be precise, however this same person may be unable to encounter true reality without one intangible ingredient.
We all know there are uncertainties in life that are out of our control. Getting out of bed in the morning is a risk as well as walking down the sidewalk so we operate on faith that nothing will happen each day as we go about our business. Faith is integral to daily living. We trust that our water will be safe and the air we breathe will be able to sustain us along with a million other things. A kind of reliance on unseen assurance permits us to be at ease with our environment, something beyond our five senses. Personal beliefs are natural from the moment of conception to the moment of final surrender. How these beliefs affect our chosen paths may vary widely.
Karl Marx originally conceived of a utopian society in which all wealth is equally shared along with equal responsibility when he founded the communist doctrine as opposition to the Czarist regime governing Russia. Vladimir Lenin edited the philosophy and Joseph Stalin implemented his interpretation of it with ruthless force. Most people believed in this system or were sent to prison or shot. Their senses spoke loudly to their beliefs. In the free world we make our own choices, blindly following the general consensus or trends or thinking for ourselves independently, to follow our senses strictly or to put our faith is what we believe is right and true.
Everyone operates on faith. When Jesus asked his followers to have faith in him and in his Father who sent him, he was not asking for anything beyond what they were capable of. It is not about trusting the unseen but about placing that trust wholly in God’s hands. The obstacle looming before every individual is a matter of choice. Are they willing to see the truth about themselves and the path God lays before them? Are they willing to listen to God’s voice leading them to love one another? Are they willing to smell the odor of the unsavory in need of their help? Are they willing to touch the ones who need it day to day? Are they willing to taste the bread and wine of the sacrifice made on their behalf and be transformed into a child of God above all else? Choosing to remain in the ignorance of mere physical contacts is not really possible as moral decisions must be made. Darkness or selfish motives are always possible as contrarily enlightened “knowing better” provides the higher road.
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.