The Light of Faith
While travelling through a major European city several years ago, I had to stop for fuel a few miles from the scene of a riot. The local government officially identified it as “racial and religious unrest.” A group of Muslims were protesting what they considered to be an injustice against the laws of their religion. There was a long line of vehicles carrying police and Special Forces, with sirens screaming, snaking their way to and from the scene of the conflict. While paying for the gas, the Arabic-looking cashier asked: “As a Catholic priest, what do you think that we, as Muslims, must do to be at peace in this country?” I replied, “Seek to know the absolute truth about Jesus Christ.” Her response seemed to be a mixture of irony and despair as she said something like: “You are probably right, but do you think we really can?”
A few years later I had the joy of baptizing an adult Muslim, and I finally understood the despair with which the gas station attendant asked her question. I was able to observe the development of the gift of faith in a soul leaving the error of Islamism, and it was only then that I realized the total sacrifice that God asks of them. The Muslim religion is so structured that to leave it is a type of social suicide. All ties are broken with their society and often even with their own family. A good Muslim family is encouraged by their religion to murder the family member that has left Islamism. For a Muslim to become a Catholic they are literally risking their lives. God gives all that the soul needs to embrace the faith, but that soul must courageously sacrifice all that God asks of him. For a Muslim, this sacrifice sometimes includes martyrdom.
God seems to convert the Muslims by the gift of a great interior light of faith needed to abandon everything to God. On the natural level, light is an extraordinary creature. It is the means by which we see the visible world that surrounds us. An entire mountain can be placed inside of us by means of light. The surprising thing about sight is that the image that arrives on the retina is upside down and is mysteriously turned around by our mind so that we see the objects as they really are, that is to say the sky above the mountain instead of below it.
The light of the faith acts in like manner. If we use the eyes of our soul only to materially satisfy our intellect, the image that we perceive is in a certain way upside down. We would be lacking a supernatural perspective. We therefore need the light of faith to place the object of our intellect in its proper position with respect to God. It is precisely this gift of faith that the Muslims lack. Many government officials, all over the western world, would like us to believe that the Muslim religion is essentially the same as the “Christian religions” with a few exceptions. This is profoundly false. Their perspective of religion is very materialistic, as is their god of war and self-destruction. Their idea of heaven is sensual pleasure. Without the light of faith their supernatural world is really upside down.
The Muslim that I baptized several years ago had an intense desire of God. The first time he came to Mass was a Christmas day. He was seeking to discover, as he said himself, something spiritual about the feast of Christmas. Although he was not baptized, he stood in the confession line. Once inside, he asked why people looked worried coming in and left apparently relieved! His journey to God took seven years. During this time, two Novus Ordo priests encouraged him to remain Muslim. One priest even asked that he explain the Quran to him.
He was finally convinced to seriously study the Catholic faith by the example of a young and large Catholic family, not by their words, but rather by what they were…, i.e. charitable. He observed charity amongst the members of the family and the mutual love of the spouses. He saw the presence of God in the pure hearts of that young family. Seeing the fatherhood of a good family he wanted to be able to call God his Father. By God’s grace, and the courage to risk his life for God, he was baptized. …“But as many as received Him, He gave them the power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His name.”
God decided that this earth would be a battleground of good and evil. On one side is the Church with her children, on the other is the wickedness of Satan and his slaves: the children of light opposed to those dwelling in darkness. God has sent light into the darkness and He helps all who wish to receive it. The Muslim religion is so devised as to block out that light, but there are some “seated in darkness and in the shadow of death” that yearn for this light. It is our duty in charity to pray for them and help them to receive the light of faith.