The title I have chosen for this reflection is a little misleading in that all of the Evangelists are mystics in their own rights. It is just that the Gospel of John seems to be more so in that it often refers to many of the mysteries of our faith. John was obviously a deep thinker. He was not satisfied with simple explanations of realities that failed to express them truly. Even if it meant leaving our understanding of articles of faith open to the mystery of God and His Holy Spirit, this did not deter him in his writings. In many ways this is the beauty of John’s Gospel – the openness to the transcendent that he places in the Gospel can be the launching point for many fruitful meditations and reflections.
There was a time in my life when I feared uncertainty and all that uncertainty meant. Now I have learned to love it and embrace it with faith, trusting that if and when necessary, the Holy Spirit will give me whatever understanding I need at any given time! I think that this type of attitude captures something of the essence of the meaning of the word, ‘faith.’ As a mathematician I was used to expecting to be able to know if something was right or wrong. It was as simple as that! With faith it is quite different.
With faith our form or structure of knowing is very different to that of mathematics. With faith sometimes we know because we believe and trust that what the Church teaches is true. This does not mean that we cannot or should not ask questions. It simply means that sometimes we cannot answer all of the questions that we might have with empirical answers, that is, answers derived from our or humanity’s experiences.
There are times when we can formulate the questions – when we can grasp the essence of a reality in our lives, yet we are unable to give it a concise and fully explicable description. This is where we have to choose to embrace the mystery of our faith and to trust that the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, will continue to lead His Church in the ways of truth and love.
Are there times when I doubt the truth of what the Church teaches? If so, then I should talk to someone wiser than I am and also pray for the grace of faith and the grace to understand more fully the truth of the matter.
Holy Spirit, help me to become the mystic that the Church of the third millennium needs in order to carry the Gospel to the hearts and minds of people who are so often scared of mystery and uncertainty.