Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Worry and Doubt. Peace and Certainty.



It was a lovely Spring evening, quite bright and warm for this time of year, when Steven Milliner, the Youth Club leader, decided to take the children to the park opposite St Vincent Catholic Church for some fresh air and exercise.

Most of the boys had gathered with two Club Leaders at the far end of the park to play football. The rest of the children stayed in the playground area and played on the swings, the slides, round-abouts and seesaws; supervised by a couple of Leaders and Father Ignatius who’d turned up to help.

The priest sat on a bench and kept a watchful eye when he was joined by Tony a young volunteer who helped at the Youth Club every now and then.

“Could I ask you something Father?” he said hesitantly as he sat down.

“Fire away …” replied the priest.

“How is it that you priests can be so strong and steadfast in your Faith. You and Father Donald are so saintly and you preach on Sunday so well … I mean, do you ever have doubts?”

Father Ignatius smiled. “If only you knew …” he thought silently.

After a moment or two Father Ignatius spoke gently.

“Well … Father Donald may well be saintly I suppose … as for me … hmmm … what makes you think I’m saintly?”

“You’re always so calm Father. Nothing seems to rattle you. And your Faith is so strong …”

“Well Tony …” Father Ignatius said after a short pause, “priests are human beings just like everyone else. Just because we wear a white collar, or have been ordained as priests, does not make us Saints. Of course we have doubts every now and then … perhaps not as much or as often as other people, but we are no less immune to the attacks and temptations of the devil.

“A person’s Faith depends on a lot of factors. We all have different levels of Faith … if I can put it this way. Some people have a strong Faith in the Good Lord and can withstand no end of suffering and hardship … others fold at the first stumble …”

“So, if you do have moments of doubts Father, how do you fight it?” asked Tony.

“Prayer … constant prayer,” the priest answered, “one of my favorite prayers is what the man in the Bible said to Jesus. ‘I believe Lord; help my unbelief’. Look it up in Mark 9:24.”

“Yes Father … I remember reading that …” Tony replied.

“Priests are no different to anyone else,” continued Father Ignatius, “some have strong Faith indeed, living Saints as you call them … whilst others do struggle sometime, just like anyone else.

“Anyway … why do you ask? Having any problems?”

Tony hesitated a little before replying.

“Well … sometimes I have doubts …” he said, “… and yet at other times I feel totally certain about my Faith. I believe and totally trust in God, especially when all is going well in my life.

“I suppose the problem is that I don’t trust myself to believe enough. It’s as if I should believe and trust more … yet it does not seem or feel enough. I doubt myself in what I believe. Do you understand what I mean?”

Father Ignatius said nothing for a while as he cleaned his glasses.

“Look at that seesaw over there …” he said finally, “Do you see how one child at one end is up in the air one moment and then down again the next, whilst the other child in turn is up in the air? And then the first child is up again … and down again …

“Life is a bit like that sometimes. You have at one end of the seesaw Worry and Doubt; and at the other end Peace and Certainty.

“Sometimes Worry and Doubt are in the ascendant and together what powerful adversaries they make! We start questioning our Faith. We ask ourselves ‘What if I got it all wrong? What if there is no God at all!’. We worry about our family, our friends, our finances and worldly goods. I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like.”

Tony nodded silently.

“But at other times, especially after prayers or Bible readings, the seesaw tips the other way and Peace and Certainty are up in the air. We remember the many times God was there for us when we needed Him. And the many situations He saved us from and helped us through.

“It’s at these times that we know for certain that He exists alright, despite what others might lead us to believe.”

“That’s a good analogy,” said Tony quietly.

“I suppose we can’t control the up and down movement of the seesaw,” continued Father Ignatius in his calm voice, “that’s what it was designed to do. But with constant prayers we can ensure that Peace and Certainty are there high up for all to see in our lives for as long as possible.”

14 comments:

  1. Wonderful.....you know Victor since my husband and only son passed away and then the battle with Cancer.......well it was my Faith that brought me through, and my prayers reinforced my Faith. I am so thankful to my Lord for the gift of Faith, if it were not for this beautiful gift I am not even sure I would still be here....thank you for this wonderful story about Peace and Certainty.....:-)Hugs

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  2. Hello Bernie,

    The stronger our Faith the harder the devil seems to fight to lead us astray. But let's be of good cheer; the Lord will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand.

    God bless you Bernie.

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  3. Thanks Victor,

    That was a very uplifting post.
    When the object of our faith is Jesus and The Bible how can we go wrong?

    God bless you and have a great day

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  4. Hi there Old Geezer,

    Nice to see you visiting again. You're so right, we should focus on Christ at all times. Even when it is sometimes difficult to do so.

    God bless you always.

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  5. Wonderful story! I can certainly relate to Tony. It feels like I had a bit of spiritual direction here without realizing it! Great job!

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  6. Hello Anne,

    It's lovely to see you visiting here. We all have ups and downs in our Faith from time to time. I more than most!

    God bless you.

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  7. I agree with Anne. Reading your story is like receiving spiritual direction. I feel that way following most of your stories, Victor.

    We liked the see-saw as children, but we expect to do better with our Faith. We don't like the Ups and Downs, but life is like a see-saw and we might as well accept it.

    God Bless you for your inspirational stories.

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  8. Hi Maryellen,

    It's so nice of you to visit and comment here. I really appreciate my readers' comments as they help me develop other stories in the series ... also, I learn a lot from my readers. Both in their comments and by visiting their wonderful Blogs.

    God bless you and your family Maryellen.

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  9. I love Fr. Ignatius :)
    How right he is: prayer prayer prayer ...

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  10. Amen Gabriella, Amen.

    Thanx for calling in on my Blog.

    God bless.

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  11. It's comforting to know that others, even priests, struggle at times with their faith. It always surprises me when doubts come because I believe so fervently when the seesaw is "up". I love the verse you referenced. It really helps to confess my doubts to God and ask for his help.

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  12. Hi Sarah,

    Yes; most people have doubts from time to time.
    Even priests.

    here's a TRUE story about a Basilian Monk who had doubts about the Eucharist. Here's the Link.


    And here's the Link to the Eucharist Website.


    God bless.

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  13. Hello Father, I wrote about the strong faith when I was up but doubts when I was down. Your story had some strong points to ponder but I do find it extremely difficult to pray for myself when I am so deeply sad or depressed. I have found that if I pray for others it does help me. I believe God knows everything, so because he does, he knows I am sad and have my doubts, so instead of focusing on me I now pray for others and let God take care of me in his own time. Winter months are very hard on my depression, I find that once I walk daily, I am freed up of negativity. I also find walking is a great time to pray! God Bless!!

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  14. Hello Michele,

    First of all let me say that I am not a priest.

    We all have moments when we're down and our Faith is weak. My best prayer when this happens is to tell God honestly how I feel. We don't need to recite prayers or quotations; just honestly speak to Him and tell Him how we feel.

    Praying for other people shows a generosity of spirit and love towards others. I believe God answers these prayers the most.

    God bless you Michele. Thank you for writing in.

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I PRAY FOR ALL WHO COMMENT HERE.

God bless you.

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