This past Saturday we buried my dearest friend of the past 47 years, Penny Jaworski. We shared a lot of life together. I don’t remember however Penny ever expressing any deep realization of the effect she had on others. In fact, just the opposite. She often voiced doubt that she made a difference. Ah, she often said how others affected her, but I don’t think she believed she had much of an effect on them. I guess that’s a good thing for knowledge of how we affect one another might limit our activity. Hearing from Penny’s many friends at her memorial however, erased any such doubt in my mind forever. Penny you were loved by many and will be remembered by them for the rest of their lives.
Back to the living. Mr. Casey Gerald doubts, in fact he talks eloquently about the gospel of doubt. He shares the many times in his life when he placed all his hope in his church, then the educational world and finally in the economic systems, only to be left doubting and upset each time. People in 12 step programs like to tell us that when we are upset, the problem is with us. In other words, it’s not other people or a particular set of circumstances that get us upset, it is our response to these that get us upset. Casey Gerald illustrates this truth in his February 2016 TED Talk, the Gospel of Doubt above. In less than 20 minutes, Gerald shares his search for God, and what he finds.
Mr. Gerald is not the only one who doubts. In December of last year, Pope Francis announced that he will name Mother Theresa of Calcutta a saint. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, editor-at-large of the Catholic news site America, wrote in a Boston Globe December 18, 2015 article how despite having heard the voice of God prompting her to serve the “poorest of the poor” Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent the last twenty years of her life doubting God. Wow!.
Then of course, there’s the Gospel story of the apostle Thomas as told by John. He, like many of us, needed proof. He was lucky. He found it. (JN 20: 24 – 28)
When you you find yourself in doubt and there is no immediate proof, try:
- Seeking input from mentors and trusted friends,
- Spending quiet time just being before jumping to a decision,
- After doing the above, trust your gut and act.
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.