The Many Aspects of Faith

Belief is a tricky and difficult thing. If we’re honest, faith is something we all struggle with, which shouldn’t be cause for discouragement; even the greatest saints, from the Apostles down to our own time, wrestled with doubt.

Unfortunately, we make the struggle more difficult than it needs to be by misunderstanding it.

We discuss “faith” as if it’s a matter of philosophy and ideas, rather than an encounter with a living person (or Holy Trinity of Divine Persons).

We forget that faith is something we inherently struggle with because we are graced with freedom; as Metropolitan John of Pergamon once observed, Christ’s Ascension is powerful, in part, because it is a withdrawal that opens up a space for faith to be voluntary rather than coerced.

We gloss over the fact that faith does not necessarily preclude doubt, as we see for example in the life of St. Silouan the Athonite.

And finally, we pretend that faith can somehow be definitvely proven rather than, at best, culminate in invitation and encounter: “come and see.”

So why chose Christ, even when it may seem easier to say no?

On a very basic, human level, we all wrestle with pain. It’s the great existential problem with which mankind struggles: we’re trapped between God’s comforting assurance, as He created the world, that “it is good,” and the awful reality that the good gifts of creation are all doomed to death and decay.

We fully experience the brutal, numbing terror of the grave because we intuitively feel the unbridled joy of birth and creation.

On a visceral level, we know the world was made for something better than the tomb. The world is a good thing; its big problem is that it doesn’t last.

Yet we see the world as it was meant to be in the light of Christ’s victory over death.

We see it in the fragrant, myrrh-streaming bones of the saints. We see it in the transformed lives of the saints, whose every word and deed radiates the reality of the Resurrection. We see it in the acts of love, great and small, which sustain an otherwise dry and barren world.

And I see it in my own life, which makes far more sense in Christ than apart from Him. So I say “yes” to Christ because no temporary pleasure can compare to the eternal joy of the Resurrection; because, no matter my doubts and struggles, the same unfading Light shines through the darkness.

And the darkness will not overtake it.

This piece is adapted from a talk Y2AM Director Steven Christoforou recently gave for the “Men in Black Speaker Series,” available at

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