Sister Georgina came to see Father Ignatius in his office. She was a nun living in the Convent nearby and whilst it was not unusual for the nuns to visit the Parish House from time to time this visit was somewhat formal. The nun had phoned the priest that morning and asked him for an appointment.
“No thank you Father …” she said somewhat shyly as she sat down.
“You know you don’t need to phone to make an appointment …” he said as he closed the door and sat at his desk, “just pop in anytime …”
“Well Father … I wanted to make sure you were available … and we would not be disturbed.” She said. “The thing is … I’m finding it very hard believing …”
“Are you having doubts about your Faith Sister?” Father Ignatius asked gently and soothingly.
“No … no … it’s not that. I believe in God and Jesus and the Trinity …” she hesitated, “Can someone be selective in their beliefs?”
“Well Georgina …” he smiled, “it depends on what one is selective about … I do have my doubts about some of the changes we’re making as a Church … What is troubling you exactly?”
“Well Father …”
“Let’s dispense with the formalities for now …” he interrupted.
“Well …” she hesitated again, “for some time now I’ve had great difficulty in believing in the true presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.
“I can’t quite explain it. Did Christ in the Last Supper ask us to celebrate Communion in His memory … or is it really His flesh and blood? And why would He want us to eat and drink His very Being?”
“It is one of our fundamental beliefs as a Church,” said the priest calmly, “one that has been tested and debated for centuries. You’ve no doubt heard of the Eucharistic Miracle at Lanciano?”
“Yes Father … but how can I make myself believe?” she replied, “I could shut my eyes tightly and convince myself to believe … but at the end of the day my mind says differently.
“I have no difficulty in believing the existence of God … I accept that as fact. I believe in Christ’s Virgin birth, His resurrection, the Holy Spirit and so on … Somehow these beliefs cause me no difficulties and they are part of my being … they are me and have been me for sometime.
“And I suppose that at some stage I must have believed in the Eucharist too. How could I not have?
“I became a nun … studied for years and took on my vocation … and all was well … Yet now, it’s this one aspect of my Faith that I find difficulty with.”
The priest paused for a while and said a silent prayer before going on.
“We’ve all had our moments of doubts and our little stumbles every now and then …” he said.
“It’s our human nature coming to the fore. We’re programmed to think, to analyze … to ask questions and yes … to doubt too.
“It’s what some people call Free Will … and I’m sure you’ve heard the many debates about that and God’s pre-destination of our lives!”
She smiled as he continued.
“God does not want us to work hard at our beliefs. He does not want us to shut our eyes tightly and convince ourselves to believe in this or in that.
“He understands our struggles between total acceptance and the natural desire to examine and evaluate what we’re told to believe.
“He did make us after all … so He knows what makes us tick and how the cogs in our heads constantly turn.
“What God asks of us is to believe like a child. A child never questions the veracity of what he’s told … he just accepts it.
“There’s no need to believe with eyes tightly shut.
“Just accept … like a child. Trust him … like a child. Love Him … like a child.
“And when your mind questions … as it certainly will … just say … Get behind me Satan.
“Look up at God and pray … I believe, Lord; help my unbelief.”
She left with a much lighter heart and a heavy weight off her shoulders.
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