Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The nature of faith

Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but the endless, tameless pilgrimage of hearts. Audacious longing, calling, calling, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind—it is all a stalwart driving to the precious serving of Him who rings our hearts like a bell, wishing to enter our empty perishing life. What others call readiness to suffer, willingness to relinquish, is felt here as bestowal of joy, as granting of greatness. Is it a surrender to confide? Is it a sacrifice to believe? True, beliefs are not secured by demonstration nor impregnable to objection. But does goodness mean serving only as long as rewarding lasts? Towers are more apt to be shaken than graves. Insistent doubt, contest, and frustration may stultify the trustworthy mind, may turn temples into shambles. But those of faith who plant sacred thoughts in the uplands of time, the secret gardeners of the Lord in mankind’s desolate hopes, may slacken and tarry but rarely betray their vocation.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 332

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