The believer who encounters serious doubt does not renounce his or her faith but rather uses it as an opportunity to affirm it. We may call this acknowledgement of doubt a Holy Saturday experience (a term that refers to the 24 hours nestled between the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ). This day marked a moment of great uncertainty and darkness for the followers of Jesus. Yet, it is precisely in the midst of a Holy Saturday experience that the decision to follow Christ becomes truly authentic. A faith that can only exist in the light of victory and certainty is one which really affirms the self while pretending to affirm Christ, for it only follows Jesus in the belief that Jesus has conquered death. Yet a faith that can look at the horror of the cross and still say ‘yes’ is one that says ‘no’ to the self in saying ‘yes’ to Christ. If one loses one’s life only because one believes that this is the way to find it, then one gives up nothing; to truly lose one’s life, one must lay down that life without regard to whether or not one finds it. Only a genuine faith can embrace doubt, for such a faith does not act because of a self-interested reason (such as fear of hell or desire for heaven) but acts simply because it must. A real follower of Jesus would commit to him before the crucifixion, between the crucifixion and the resurrection, and after the resurrection.
Rollins, Peter (2011-06-30). How (Not) to Speak of God (p. 34). Paraclete Press. Kindle Edition.
Category Archives: Quotes
Tony Jones challenged us to answer the question, “Why the Crucifixion?” I think that there are two quotes that can sum it up better than I could.
The theology of the cross, which may be stimulated by a certain kind of anthropological pre-understanding, is nevertheless first of all a statement about God, and what it says about God is not that God thinks humankind so wretched that it deserves death and hell, but that God thinks humankind and the whole creation so good, so beautiful, so precious in its intentions and its potentiality, that its actualization,its fulfillment, its redemption is worth dying for.”
“The divine love that is ready to suffer birth in human form ‘must’ follow through, if it is really love for creatures, for us. It ‘must’ suffer life, not only birth; it ‘must’ suffer death, too.”
Douglas John Hall, “The Cross in our Context” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), pgs. 24, 28.
I came across this when reading a book by Brennan Manning.
“Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy’s lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys, or even starts chatting with friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?”
St. Dimitrii of Rostov, a 17th century Russian Bishop.
“Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins, kindling my heart with thy flame of love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there. For thou alone art my King and my Lord.”
Recently I have been reading The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. What strikes me about these ascetics is some their profound insight to discipleship. Here is a sampling.
Abba Agathon said, ‘If I could meet a leper, give him my body and take his, I should be very happy.’ That indeed is perfect charity.
Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, ‘This is the great work of man: always to take blame for his on sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath.’
A brother who had sinned was turned out of the church by the priest; Abba Bessarion got up and went with him saying, ‘I, too, am a sinner.’