Letters to Jesus (Contrary Spiritual Notions) - 21
I am intrigued by the apparent certainty of knowledge with which “the faithful” of a particular religion guide their actions and form their values. As long as human comprehension is fallible and limited, no one really “knows.” How seldom do we consider that religious leaders and the highest of our hierarchies themselves really do not “know.” We look to those who know more than we; and they are often able to move us to their level. But they do not really “know.” We can act with prudence, solicitousness, and the best of human wisdom, but we really don’t “know.” We only know what we know and it’s never enough and is often distant from the truth.
I speak, of course, of spiritual matters; of God and of the hidden but real aspect of ourselves in which our being must exist or not be. Always there is something beyond our grasp. Always our own human limitations pull us up short. If this were not so we would possess knowledge in the way in which our creation was meant. It was and is our will, the tool of both our rise and fall,that drives us both to know and also keeps us from knowing. Our latent urges to seek to know more are thwarted by what we think we know already. We swim in an ocean of unknowing, and that’s the way it is! We know a lot of things but we really “know” nothing. Wisdom is just experience in the directions we take.
All this being said, it points out powerfully the value of faith; the importance in not knowing but believing. This power, this aptitude of the will, we do possess. We cannot know but we can believe. It is something we can do. The shaky ground of what we know can become concrete with faith; concrete in the sense that it becomes more important to believe, to trust, to accept than to know. Though all of this seems to border on agnosticism, the departure from it is faith. Isn’t it interesting that the other two “theological” virtues, hope and charity, are likewise not totally dependent on knowledge.