October 6/7, 2007
Fides quaerens intellectum
Faith seeks to understand the mind of God in every aspect of lived experiences. Thus, in an attempt to understand the mind of God about atrocities that were happening around him, the Prophet Habakkuk cried out: "O LORD, how long shall I cry for help and you will not listen? How long shall I cry to you Violence! and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Why do you make me see destruction, strife and contention [disagreements, disputes and conflicts cf. Habakkuk 1: 2-3] while you remain far remote to the situation of your people? What do you want me to do?
Judging from the situation of our world today:
1. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of those in society who have, or continue to suffer or witness strife and we refuse to hear them?
2. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of those in society who find themselves constantly in trouble with the law and are in need of our direction and we would not direct them but instead confine them into prison cells?
3. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of those in society who suffer from chronic diseases or illnesses that never heal and we would not provide drugs that could cure them?
4. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of those in society who suffer from loneliness, depression, addiction, violence or abuse of any kind in the home or wherever, and are in need our protection and we could care less?
5. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of those in society whose marriage or relationship sits on rocky grounds and in need of intervention, and we would rather not support them but gossip about them instead?
6. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of those in society who are divorced or separated and are forced to be single parents needing acceptance but we would rather shun them by calling them names or looking down on them?
7. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of fatherless children in society who need love and affection but we never give them any?
8. Could Habakkuks cry reflect the cry of those in society who cant find or hold a job, those who desperately need a job to enable them provide food, clothing and shelter for their family and we would not assist them but rather tag them as lazy bums?
For those of you going through hard times in life trust me that my heart goes out to you and I support you in prayers, especially every time I celebrate the Eucharist with you.
The cry of the Prophet
Habakkuk calls forth two levels of faith. First, for those who have no
faith like the atheist, God could not possibly exist to show love
and care for the afflicted. For those of us who are impatient about anything
and everything, God seems far remote and unworthy of praise or thanksgiving.
For those whose faith is weak, they would ask, If God exists, and
if God is really alive, why are we surrounded with intractable evils
defeats chronic problems failures, hardships and so forth
in our lives? The less fortunate may also ask, Does God know
what he is?
Contemplating on living
our faith in civility, Pope St. Gregory the Great urges us to note that,
We are set apart to guard Gods vineyard Gods
creation; that we do not get involved in irrelevant pursuits to the neglect
of performance of our ministry as stewards of Gods creation
[cf. Divine Office Breviary, Vol. IV, 369]. In short, Pope St.
Gregory the Great cautions that we Never lack foresight or hesitate
to say openly what is right for fear of losing favour of others.
He concludes that, Whenever we refuse to stand against injustice
or evil intentions, we lose to be the voice of faith to people around
us [cf. Divine Office Breviary, Vol. IV, 343].
The desperate cry
of the Prophet Habakkuk echoes sentiments in our own particular situations,
for we sometimes go through painful times in our lives. Is this reason
why the Prophet Habakkuk cried out as he did? But why did he cry so much
about the plight of the weak and needy in his society? Just as some of
us cannot stand social ills and injustices, the Prophet Habakkuk could
no longer sit on the fence to watch the plight of the weak or tolerate
any longer the disrespect and disregard for the vulnerable in his society.
As a good steward,
the Prophet Habakkuk sought answers for the plight of his people. God
responded to his quest, saying,
the righteous live by their
faith [cf. Habakkuk 2:4]. We also Walk by faith, and not by
sight: no gracious words we hear, of him who spoke as none ere spoke,
but we believe him near [CBW III 495]. The Prophet Habakkuk suggests
that God is near to us always!
I wish you all a wonderful,
joy-filled and peace-filled Thanksgiving Week!
Father John-Baptist Okai