The God Squad: Catholic Girls ask a Rabbi about God (Part 2): More questions from the theology class at Mercy High School in
Q: From C: What makes your faith in God stronger?
A: Two things strengthen my faith. Nature strengthens my faith in God and babies made in the image of God strengthen my faith in people.
Nature reminds me of the teaching of the psalmist in Psalm 104:24, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” (You should read all of Psalm 104 for more sublime poetry about nature). The laws of nature are the same here on Earth as they are on the farthest reaches of the universe. Carbon here is the same as carbon there. Gravity here is the same as gravity there. I believe that such a great natural design must have had a great designer.
The poet Carl Sandburg wrote, “A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” I agree. My faith is strengthened when I see people decide to bring new life into our wounded world. There are so many reasons to decide not to subject a child to the many burdens of life here on this planet, but only one reason to do it — you have hope that the God who made each of us in God’s image wants us and needs us to fix the world and bring joy to its inhabitants.
Grade : A
Q: From K: I have always heard people saying to listen to God, and I want to and I am always looking for what he is telling me, but sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I am looking for. How will I know God is speaking to me? Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email. Have a great day!
A: If you are listening to God, God is speaking to you. The content of God’s speech is hard to decipher because this is not an ordinary conversation. Some people wait for some big booming voice from the clouds but that is not how God talk happens. The key to understanding what God is trying to tell you is training your inner voice. Your inner voice is the voice of your conscience. These are your moral instincts. We read about the inner voice in the Bible, I Kings 19:11-12. God is talking to the prophet Elijah,
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
So, when you are faced with a moral dilemma just get quiet in your mind and listen for the still, small voice. Ask yourself, “What is the right thing to do?” Your first instincts are almost always your best instincts. What prevents us from doing the right thing is usually fear. This is why the most frequently used phrase in the Bible is “Be not afraid.” (Hebrew: al tirah). The deep truth is that you already know what God wants you to do. Just have the courage to do it.
Q: From K: In recent months, I have felt that I have significantly grown closer to the Lord. I am very proud of my progress, but within my family I, for some reason, have always felt awkward talking about the extent of my faith. My family and I are all Catholic, so we share the same beliefs, but as I mentioned, it always feels weird to me to talk about religion with them. Is this normal and how can I become more comfortable with this?
A: It is a very rare thing for teenagers to be comfortable talking to their parents about deep stuff. Faith, sex, moral conflicts, body image, depression are all topics that require very strong bonds of love and trust to discuss with parents. If you just begin by telling them what role faith plays in your life and then ask them what role it plays in theirs, you have a chance to have the kind of faith talk you desire. If they are uncomfortable talking about it, don’t push or be disappointed in them. Not everyone is comfortable at any age revealing their innermost feelings. Then find some friend or some priest or some teacher who can engage your spiritual curiosity. A rabbi means a teacher and even though you are Catholic, dear K, I think you need a rabbi!
(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at email@example.com. Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion for Dummies,” co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman.)
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