The wrong idea that faith constantly needs proof and confirmation is a false path leading away from the true knowledge of faith and God. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary, said this in a material published by the “Pravlife” website.
“Faith is a person’s free choice, his will. It does not require proof, neither does love, when one person truly loves another. And where there is even a hint of desire to prove to oneself the correctness of the chosen path, there is no faith,” the hierarch noted.
He emphasized that by searching for external signs we diminish the deed of faith and diminish its sound, “the need for constant “proof” undermines trust in God and inevitably leads to disappointment and weakness of spirit”.
“Only if we consciously overcome temptations and trials, we can strengthen faith and increase spiritual strength. If, for example, we need to go through a dirty and muddy stream of water and there is no way to get around it, we must enter this water and wade across it, despite the dirt and mud, the cold and wet clothes. There are situations in life that we must overcome but not run away from them, as, unfortunately, many people do. And if we firmly make the decision to “go into the water”, the Lord will give the necessary strength and firmness,” the Very Rev. Anthony explained, adding that all trials are our steps toward God “and only by your personal ladder you can ascend to Him”.
At the same time, he emphasized that the main goal of all our spiritual exercises and trials is to get out of insensibility: “We fell into it, having lost touch with Our Creator after the fall. We have disappeared in the world mired in pleasures and insensibility towards God, our soul, our neighbours, and the pain of others.”
According to the metropolitan, “our crumpled and disfigured souls are smoothed out in contact with the Lord”. These touches are not always gentle and affectionate, but in fact “sometimes only having seen the edge of the abyss, we will shout: ’Lord, have mercy!’. Sometimes, only having driven ourselves into a dead end, we in despair and weakness hold out our hand to the Lord. And He, patiently waiting for this impulse, answers us with all the power of His love and tenderness. Regrettably, we are not able to hold and feel it in all its fullness.
“We, weak and sinful, absorb drops of Divine love, not even suspecting its scale, grandeur, and strength. And just as true love is not afraid of any trials, so true faith is not afraid of any persecution and deprivation. They only strengthen and temper it. And our love for God is our faith. Our love is God Himself. Recognizing our love, we already recognize God Himself. The experience of love for Him is our path that is true and does not require proof. After all, no evidence is needed for true love!” concluded the UOC Chancellor.