The essence of faith

Thoughts about the center of our lives

Dear Reader,

This post (please read it here) is currently the last in this series. Due to the extremely large amount of duties, which reached me in my life in parallel, I had to suspend the blog. Many thanks for reading my essays so far! If you are a new visitor, please have a look to the 58 essays published here between 2017 and 2020. Wishing you safe times and a New Normality after the 2020 corona virus pandemic,

Peter Csermely

 


1. What we mistakenly believe about faith. Faith is not a task. Faith does not have any advantage or objective. We do not believe to be rewarded. Faith is not a barter trade. „I believe in You, my Lord, and You take care of my salvation in return.” Faith is not a refuge that is used by people only when getting into a big trouble. We do not pray because we want to reach something that otherwise cannot be reached but… We do not go to a congregation because it helps us spiritually or because that’s how we can live an honest life but… (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How to put the essence of faith in words? „Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” (Hebrews 11:1) As Calvin pointed out, this sentence, which almost alone „defines” faith in the Bible, naturally cannot give a complete description about the nature of faith. At the same time it provides us with three very important clues: that of hope, trust and confidence. The one who believes, trusts in things hoped for and is convinced of the meaning of life, his own place in the world, his love relation with Jesus, his future, the good order of his life and death despite of that he cannot see all this with his own eyes. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 


3. Faith as a subjective confession. For me faith is accepting mercy. Faith and its deepening are continuous events in our lives. Faith is a state of being. In the 18th-19th century’s France St. John Vianney was famous for that the line of those whose complaints and grievances he heard snaked in front of his church from morning to evening. He owed a lot to an old peasant who did nothing but only sitting in his church for days. Then he went to the old man: "May I ask you what you are doing here?” "I am not doing anything, I am just sitting here and looking at Christ. And He is looking at me.” For me this story (about contemplation which leads us to action) is somehow the essence of faith. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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What to do after the epidemic? What not to do after the epidemic?

Season concluding thoughts about the mercy of renewal

1. What not to do after the epidemic? What should be avoided in this summer? First we should avoid being very optimistic. As the ancient wise men taught, we have to avoid the other extreme, i.e. fear, too. We managed to build up such a complex system (network) with the help of our worldwide connections that we cannot comprehend any more. Our computers cannot comprehend it either. Moreover, they will not comprehend it either. It is because the complexity of the system grows more quickly than the complexity of the parts able to comprehend the system. We need to come to terms with this emerging permanent uncertainty. There is no padded, safe life any more. In fact, there has never been a safe life – but we managed to create the illusion for a few decades that there was. It’s over. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. What to do after the epidemic? What are the most important take home messages of the pandemic? All extremes should be avoided. We should not rush – but we should not isolate ourselves either. What could be the advantage of South-East-European countries in the pandemic? The local experience (considered “fresh” on a historical scale) that we have to be able to change our lives – could be an important contributory cause. The regime change from socialism to capitalism (and the recession in 2008) made South-East-European countries (and the Greeks) accustomed to the necessity and possibility of society-wise changes. What did this pandemic teach us? We learned behavioral flexibility. It taught us that we have to train ourselves for changes, for that we “switch on” or “switch off” (or rather switch over) our lives according the situation. This knowledge will be much needed in the expected, big cataclysms of the coming decades of the 21st century. Those communities which practice the capacity of behavioral change better now, at the time of this mild “main rehearsal”, will be better survivors later if the real problems (climate change, water scarcity, food shortage, etc.) will strike. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. What is the real solution? The mercy of revival. When the interconnectedness of networks exceeds a certain density, the period of instability together with a series of unexpected situations begins. This is what the world reached in the past decades. We applied the simplest answer to system stabilization during the past months. We disconnected the world network and by this we started to return to the stable regime. But the world is about to “switch on” again and facing to a new uncertainty – just differently. We do not have to look for the real answer OUTSIDE but INSIDE. How do I have to change? The real answer is the mercy of our inner revival and purification – and this we may only ask for from above. A man looking for the real answer opens, reveals and leaves space for God’s presence in him. THIS carries him to the life that will be the real answer in ITS OWN totality – in the midst of any external change. Only this inner revival brings real resilience and survival – anywhere and anyhow. Let’s be converted! There is no other way. I wish all my dear Readers this revival during the summer. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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About our own self-balance

Thoughts about getting back to “normal” after the epidemic

1. Our usual interpretations of balance. Finding and keeping balance, in our minds, is somehow like reaching steadiness. We think about balance as if somebody being in balance does not move anywhere but floats. But we often forget that levitation is only seemingly steadiness. Levitation actually is a balance of gentle movements made in all directions. All balances are dynamic. Even the balance of the peace of mind is dynamic – but in a different way (I will write about this at the end of the essay). (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. Balance as an important element of wisdom: especially today when life is slowly getting back to “normal” after the epidemic. It is especially important to find a new balance when the circumstances are fundamentally changing. It was “easy” to find a new path at the beginning of the corona virus epidemic when the compulsory behavior was ordered by the previous fate of unlucky countries and the central regulations resulting from that. It is so much harder now for us to “get back to normal”. Back to there exactly where we were, really? Well, this would be a big problem… It would mean that we have not learnt anything… Are we sure that everybody has to open up her life with the same speed? The elderly and the sick, too? Shouldn’t we generally hold ourselves back even if “everything is allowed” again? Balance used to be one of the basic categories of ancient wisdom. Balance of the golden mean is refraining from extremes. Extremes do not have to be interpreted only in an absolute sense. An extreme can also be where the crowd is going right now. The wise does not drift with the herd. He keeps his head above the herd, looks around and starts to go in another way – if it is necessary. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. The real balance. How does the soul reach its balance? Balance of the soul does not come from that it learns and follows the rules of the game. Balance of the soul is in another dimension. If we let Jesus touch us and if we feel the Totality of God, our soul will fly to such a dimension in which there is the peace of eternal life. And as a beautiful bonus, the soul becomes refreshed, purified and recharged near to God. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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On the incorruption

Thoughts in the middle of our corruption

1. Interpretation of incorruption in our time. Incorruption reminds a lot of people of preservatives. Our time’s new preservative is: disposal. Our objects are incorruptible – because we throw them away before they go wrong. „Repair” as a category has slowly disappeared from our lives because there is nothing to be repaired any more. The world has become perfect… The avalanche of artificial incorruption has reached the people, too. Today an aged man cannot be old: he must stay artificially young. Grey hair has become extinct. A wife may not appear without a make-up – even before her own husband. Time does not touch us: we are incorruptible. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. The vanity of our fight for reaching incorruption. We preserve our food and we preserve ourselves, too. We want to stop time. At the same time we do not recognize the moment. We rush: and when life forces us to stop (like now, at the time of corona virus…), we do not know how to deal with it. Why our fight for reaching incorruption is in vain? Quoting the thought of the Hungarian Lutheran pastor, Szabolcs Füke it is because "we do not want to conserve what is uncorrupted but what is corruptible". We do not realize that most of those things we would hang on to eternity are only the surface, the transience. We can see only the means not the objectives: we try to preserve the garnish and we do not notice the Meal besides it. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. The real interpretation of incorruption. We try to accomplish incorruption in our lives. This is a hopeless pursuit. We are unable to reach incorruption by ourselves just like Baron Münchausen was also unable to pull himself out from the pothole. What is corruptible in us will be taken away from us. And it is very good that our corruptibility is taken away from us: because it is the only way how the uncorrupted part of us can be preserved. God does not use preservatives to conserve the essence of us but He originally created it with this intention. God separates the uncorrupted part in us and preserves it. Our intimate relationship with God and Jesus what is uncorrupted in us. All that is linked to God in us is given a chance to be uncorrupted, which preserves the inner essence of our lives linked to God in Eternal Life. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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About the benefits of overwhelmedness

Thoughts about the most beautiful manifestations of spiritual depths

 

1. Our very good reasons why we have banished the term of overwhelmedness from the dictionaries of our time. Nowadays we don’t like being overwhelmed. According to the dictionary, overwhelmedness is „being shocked/shaken caused by a distressing circumstance or a disaster”. The synonyms of overwhelmedness are shock, trauma, grief, consternation, indignation, amazement. Well… It is not a comforting list… If we do not want to be shaken, would it mean that we would like to be unshakable? I wouldn’t believe that this is the public opinion. Warriors of the Middle Ages, the epic heroes should be unshakable. We don’t want to deal with this ‘overwhelmedness thing’. We would like to be happy again together. We have been deprived enough from joy – years in advance. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. About the benefits of overwhelmedness. "Shock, trauma, grief, consternation, indignation, amazement" – what do they have in common? The root cause of overwhelmedness is a radically new situation. A situation, what we cannot react to as we used to. Something, what cannot be avoided, proudly refused, or swept under the carpet. Overwhelmedness happens when something radically evicts us from our comfort zones. What happens to us when we are overwhelmed? We’ve just been given a chance to learn something very new. We’ve been given a chance to improve our survivability. We’ve been given a chance to be really creative. We’ve been given a chance to have a new life… Is it such a big problem? (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. About the real purpose and meaning of overwhelmedness. There is an interpretation of overwhelmedness that we do not realize nowadays. The soul’s overwhelmedness is not a conversation topic today. When does our soul become shaken? The soul’s overwhelmedness is provoked by our experience of the ultimate questions of life. Life, death, love: commitment to someone forever. What happens to our soul when it meets the ultimate questions of life? The most important experience of the shaken soul is that it is not alone. That there is Someone who wants to get connected with our soul. We feel that the overwhelmed soul meets love, don’t we? The love, what wants to give something important to our souls. Love, what wants to grow and improve our souls. The overwhelmed soul meets the inexhaustible love of Jesus and the Father. Even if it feels – lacking the necessary experience – that something so terrible has happened to it that it cannot cope with it. Now, between Easter and Pentecost, let’ think about all these – and let’s wait for, let’s ask for the possibility of overwhelmedness – because we can be enriched by it in a previously unimaginable way. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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