After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?” Peter replied, “Master, to whom we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God”. (John 6: 66 – 69)
Contemplative monk Father Thomas Keating, OCSO tells the story in a long-ago interview in U.S. Catholic of a fellow monk who receives word that his sister has been murdered. The monk goes to his sister’s apartment and sits in silence as he examines the scene of the crime. After years of centring his thoughts on God and practicing the peace of Jesus, he wonders whether this will tax him beyond what he can bear. He asks himself, “Can I live in this moment; feel this pain, and not hate?” He searches the depths of his soul and realises that, yes, he can bear it and he can continue to love – even the one who robbed his sister from him.
We all face traumatic tests of our faith that cause us to question where God is; who God is; whether God is.
A few of us, like the monk in Keating’s story, almost immediately find our way to God during these disorienting experiences; others of us remain confused for a time and need help in our journey back to faith; and sadly, some of us just can’t see how love can possibly fit into the pain and loss we’ve experienced.
Jesus tells us his words are Spirit and life – even in the face of darkness and death. Are you prepared to accept Jesus on those terms?