I don’t know about you, but I’m an inquisitive guy. I like researching questions. When did asking questions become taboo? I hear things like “the science on this is done” or “that problem’s been solved”. Faith, however, is different.
Often, it seems we go by what we feel. We don’t seek answers outside of ourselves. In mathematics, I can’t say, “two plus two feels like 5”. Yet, often that’s how we approach faith. I rely more on myself–on my experiences, feelings, and opinions–than anything else.
In order to grow in faith, we need to ask questions, we need to seek answers outside of ourselves, and we need to listen. Otherwise our faith becomes stagnant or something we do because “that’s how it’s always been done”.
When I wrestle with a difficult question, I constantly need to remind myself to listen. When I pray, whether out loud or silently, at home, at church, or during Adoration, I can’t constantly talk. That’s not a conversation. If you’re with a friend and they dominate the conversation, you feel neglected, even hurt that they didn’t want to hear about your day or solicit your opinion on the topic.
How can we seek answers about faith, but not listen? Spending time in silent contemplation, however, is only one step.
Another is, of course, to study Church Tradition and read your Bible. Yet, we must do so in a way that leaves our hearts open to understanding the truth and willing to hear the truth even if it disagrees with “what we want to hear”. Faith isn’t about fitting God into a box or molding Christianity into what I think it means. Faith is listening to God and living every moment for Him. Giving Him everything. Whether you’re working, playing, studying, or just relaxing, we should offer our days as a gift to the Lord, our Heavenly Father.
Finally, we should also talk with a priest (who’s spend years studying theology and whose job is to be a spiritual director). Sure, it might take a few days (or weeks) to get a face-to-face, because they’re busy people, but I’m fairly certain that they won’t turn you away if you ask in earnest.
If we only surround ourselves with like-minded people, only read articles that cement our current world-view, and/or never truly ask questions and search for answers in an open, honest way, how can our faith grow and develop into a mature spirituality and, even more importantly, a deep, abiding, loving relationship with God?
Remember, God wants us to ask questions (Matt 7:7-12). He wants to be there for us. He’s talking to you right now. Maybe through a book, especially the Bible, maybe through another person, or maybe even directly through divine revelation. Are you listening for His response?