Divine logic opens the way to an adventure of faith

Published on 11th Dec, 2023

WelCom December 2023

Bishop John Adams, Bishop of Palmerston North

I have always loved the story that is told about Mother Teresa – that she would pray an hour’s adoration every morning unless she was really busy, in which case she would pray for two hours…. We might call this divine logic, a logic that exists in the world but has a supernatural origin.

During my recent reading I have come across a phrase I hadn’t heard before. It was the comment that we are currently living ‘a state of permacrisis’. ‘Permacrisis’ – what an interesting term, and equally interesting is the further observation that if there doesn’t seem to be a crisis we can ‘find’ one…. In other words, being in a state of crisis serves some greater purpose other than the particular issue at hand. And again the further thought that being in a crisis ‘absolves ourselves’ of responsibility, which in turn opens the path for blaming others….

I have no doubt there are various legitimate crises in the world at the moment, although I would also observe that the Church herself has been living with crisis right from its beginnings. Indeed from the moment that Judas left the table at the Last Supper. However, the acceptance of ‘permacrisis’ surely does us spiritual damage. If we are continually immersed in the urgent, in the unfolding of one disaster after another, of the thought that everything is unravelling, our culture starts to feel thin and brittle. Time for considered debate in the public square is put to one side and is replaced by false refuge in the world of polemic.

Surely this then is an opportune time for the Catholic Church to bring her power and beauty to this marketplace of urgent concerns. As Western civilisation’s oldest institution we have something great to offer this time in history. Isn’t this the time for us to rest the arms of the spiritual giants of our Catholic tradition. To propose that another logic exists apart from this theory or that. And that this divine logic opens the way to an adventure of faith, which is full of hope and joy, a hope and joy that is just as real as any threat of global warming or economic collapse or political implosion.

Why wouldn’t we be prepared to enter into the public square at this time? It seems to me that we have lost confidence, and we labour under the false understanding that our faith is private. No, our faith is not private, personal yes, but not private.

Mother Teresa had it right I think, her antidote for the activism of our age was not to endlessly dislocate our lives but to go to the author of time itself and to petition Him for relief.

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