2 Maccabees 13-15; 2 Corinthians 5

2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

I chanced upon a wonderful series on EWTN called “Firewalk of Faith”, hosted by a Dominican, Fr. Jacob Restrick.  He had a winsome style of presentation, and a metaphor that gave me a “I could have had a V-8” moment I haven’t had since listening to “Mere Christianity” as an audiobook.  The “walk of faith” was presented as four ascending steps, and these were actually built on the set.  He offered that the reason many leave the Church is that they come in at the top step, which is the Church.  They are baptised, initiated in the sacraments, but leave because they haven’t ascended the other steps first, walking the full “walk of faith” that every person has to walk to achieve communion with Christ and his Church.  In the Catholic Church we have “reverts” – I being a classic example – people who were raised Catholic but drifted along or even renounced the faith, but eventually returned fully engaged.

The first and largest, broadest step Fr. Restrick calls “the God step”, and this step has the most people on it.  They have answered or are trying to answer the question “Who is God?”  Some people aren’t even on that step, as they don’t even care to ask the question.  Is God an energy permeating the universe (the Force)?  Is God the God of Nature?  Is everything God (pantheism)?  Is God the Great Architect of the Universe (Deism)? Is God the Christian God, a personal and loving Father?  Is God Allah, the impersonal Master?  Is the answer there is no God?  I was blessed to never struggles with doubts about the existence of God, but I did struggle with this question as to exactly who He was.  In my early twenties I was a worshipper of the God of Nature; fishing on a lake at dawn was my church.  I was intellectual enough (a legend in my own mind) to not need to worship in an actually church building with people who were not as “elevated” as myself.  Looking back 40ish years ago I ask myself “Who was that goofball?”

If you answer the God question with “He’s the Christian God, and I want to know him better”, you ascend to “the Revelation step”.  This according to Fr. Restrick is the most most important and for many toughest step to take.  You seek to find out who God is in Scripture, because in Scripture this is where He talks to us about Himself.  And there are many difficulties on this step; e.g. reconciling the God who appears to command Joshua to genocide in supplanting the Canaanites with the God of the prodigal son.  I walk the Scripture road with my Bible in one hand and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the other, combining Scripture with Sacred Tradition and the humility to know people much smarter and holier than me have left us rules to live by and truth in Scriptural interpretation.

The next step is “the Jesus step”, answering the question “Who is Jesus Christ?”  And he will – as he asked the disciples – ask us “Who do you say that I am?”  For many the answer is “He was a great teacher”, even though they don’t do anything he says to do.  I think C. S. cuts to the chase brilliantly in “Mere Christianity” giving us three choices of either 1) mad man, 2) liar, or 3) who he claimed to be, the Son of God.

And if your answer to “Who is Jesus?” is Peter’s answer, that he is indeed the Christ, the Son of God, then you are ready to ascend to the fourth step the Church, which is the doorway to Heaven, to attend the great eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb, to be be part of the great multitude no one can count.  Yes, blessed are those who have not seen, but believe!

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