It is quite normal, before we go on a long journey, that we give instructions to our family
about anything important. Jesus Christ did just the same before he made his long journey to
heaven (ascension). At that time, one of his heartfelt concerns was faith. Therefore, He said to
disciples before His departure to heaven: "The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned." (Mk 16:16). Faith
is very important.
However, it is
faith that many
Faith cannot be
seen, but it can be
symbolic acts. It
is similar to love.
Love cannot be
However, you can do something for others with love and/or express it symbolically. In the
figurative sense, faith is love for God, or better expressed, faith is the prerequisite for love for
Many refuse to express faith symbolically or to talk about it with others. For many, only
what they can perceive in their radar exists. There is an infinite number of sonic signals
around us, such as ultrasound. However, we cannot hear them because our ears are not able to
receive them. It cannot be said that such sonic signals do not exist. Bats, for example, produce
ultrasonic sounds that the human ear cannot hear. However, bats can receive these
Why do many people refuse to practice their faith? Perhaps they think that the liturgical
actions symbolising our faith are naive and therefore they do not want to celebrate faith in the
symbols of the liturgy.
In some regions of the Catholic Church in the 16th to 18th centuries, it was customary on
the feast of Ascension to the raise a statue of the risen Christ through an opening
(Heiliggeistloch, ‘Holy Ghost Hole’) into the church roof.
On the feast of Pentecost, a white dove would flutter through the opening ‘Holy Ghost
Hole’ in the church roof, symbolic of the coming of the Holy Spirt. After that, a rain of
flowers would pour through the opening indicating the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
It is not my intention to plead for the revival of this tradition!
Rather, it stress the meaning of this symbolic liturgical act! It is to express what Jesus Christ
said about his Ascension: "I must tell you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going
because unless I go, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I do go, I will
send Him to you." (John 16:7).
Faith cannot be seen, still it is just as important for life as love.
The great scientist Albert Einstein once said, about what actually counts in life: "Not
everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Many
people are greedy for superficial things that do not really count in life. However, what really
counts in life, e.g. faith, they do not find valuable. Many, on the other hand place their faith at
the centre of their lives. They believe in expressing their faith through their actions, because
they have come to know Jesus and how He has saved them, they come to love Him and thank
Him for the warning before His ascension to heaven that : "…the one who does not believe
will be condemned. ". (Mk 16:16). How does one understand "he who does not believe will
be condemned"? The non-believer slowly slides into a lonely, existential, dark hole in life.
Consequently, he develops in himself a senselessness, lonely and existential fear. Pope
Benedict once said: "He who believes is never alone".
Imagine someone lying on his deathbed and thinking about all that counted for them
in the past. His fame, fortune etc. Now what once counted is no longer what counts for him in
this critical hour. What counts for him now, what he cannot count on, is his faith. This dying
man struggles with despair for faith. Is he doomed to fall into a lonely, dark hole, into an
eternal nothingness? Or is he destined to reach, with the power of the risen Lord, an eternal
joy that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no reason has grasped? Jesus Christ says: "The
one who believes and is baptized will be saved;…" (Mk 16:16).