However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do if you do not act upon them.

Buddha

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What is the quality of belief?  How does it manifest?

Belief changes the heart, and hence the person.  Think of St. Paul’s conversion – from persecutor to disciple.  Think too about the many encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees, his recurrent conflict with them over living merely by law or by ritual.  Jesus desires that they experience God, the God present to them – before them, to be known and seen.

Belief changes us.  It is not a superficial thing, rather a supernatural thing.  It transforms us.

Imagine for a moment this: what you profess to believe is true – the Truth everlasting and eternal – the One True Thing about all reality for all time.  So you mouth what you believe, and it even affects some of how you function, comprehend, live – but that your belief, such as it is, has its boundaries.  You think, after all, this is the real world and I must conform to its expectations.  Ah, the consequences …

Those who believe with boundaries of this world being imposed on belief, curbing it – are saying this: I shall live what is true in part of my life, but not all.  The cost? You live what is true some of the time and what is untrue the rest of the time. Welcome to a life of confusion, a life in the shadows – of discontent and uncertainty, of constant compromises and the interior disquiet that produces.

Secular culture demands conformity to the “true” it promulgates.  A false god demands compromises that cost us dearly – create a disquieted mind and heart. Bring on the anesthetic, and numb us – alcohol, drugs, sex, material goods, money, status, constant distraction, noise, food, “entertainment,” gossip TV … power, politics …

Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Acting on belief affirms the soul.  Believe.  And act on belief.  Do not be compromised so easily.  Unbelief reduces the human person.  Life requires Truth and our witness to it.  No Truth, no peace.

Shalom.

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