Faith Punctuates the Book of Life

Posted March 11, 2008

Without punctuation, many writings and utterances would be meaningless gobbledygook. As an example, try to make sense of this unpunctuated series of words: “That that is is that that is not is not is not that it it is.” But with proper punctuation added, those same words read: “That that is, is; that that is not, is not. Is not that it? It is.”

The human life, unpunctuated by faith, is meaningless-. In his book Believing, Eugene Kennedy states, “Faith is closely linked to a person … and related to his whole identity. There is no believing that does not involve the whole person. You cannot give a response of faith with only a part of your personality.”

Compare an agnostic’s experience of bereavement with that of a faith-filled individual who believes in an afterlife. Compare a faithless person’s reaction to an insult with that of a Christian with a stalwart faith that has learned to turn the other cheek. Compare a worldling’s frustration in sustaining intractable pain with the pain of a true believer, soothed by the loving acceptance of God’s will in suffering. Compare an atheist’s enjoy-it-while-you-can hedonism with the joy of the friend who attends the bridegroom with a joy that is “complete” (see John 3:29). Truly, only faith-punctuation can put real meaning into otherwise meaningless situations in life.

One-Minute Meditations for Busy People by Fr. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.