On Sunday, I went to mass with my cousin. Lightning didn’t strike. Not that I was expecting it, I’ve been practicing Buddhism, albeit half-assed, but the good thing is that, it is practice. We believe you can change your karma, so I was chanting for a clear sunny day (laugh here).
I grew up Pentecostal with strong Catholic influence. Often, I preferred to go to la misa than to go la iglesia because la misa was only one hour and my Mami’s church was way too long. I digress…
It was a Spanish mass. The priest lived in Peru for many years. His parents are from Portugal. That was his actual preface before he began the sermon. There were three kids under the age of three who were in full glory and decided to make as much noise as toddlery’ possible, so I was struggling to hear the message. But I caught what I needed to… enough to have me thinking the rest of the day.
He said, “If you have lost faith, if you don’t believe, look at the testimonies of the people around you. There are saints among us. Let their lives be a testimony to the meaning of faith.”
I’ve been struggling with faith and belief for quite some time. I am not talking religious faith and belief. I am talking about the faith and believe in something unshakable within.
At the end of mass, my cousin asks, “what did you get out of the sermon today?” To which I replied with the above. She too felt that she had lost faith for quite some time. And instead has started to realize that she just wants to be a better person every day, and that the principle teachings of what she grew up with (Christianity) was nothing more and nothing less than to do good, and be good.
When we got home, I ran up to my room and changed quickly, served myself a cocktail and grabbed my book to sit under the sun and read. I had a date with my book, Ana Castillo’s So Far from God (I intend to write my review soon). I started reading the third chapter. There’s a character in the book called doña Felicia, who is a Curandera. It talks about how long before she became a Curandera, she didn’t have any faith. But after more than the fair share of life challenges and tragedies, “…she did develop faith, based not on an institution but on the bits and pieces of the souls and knowledge of the wise teachers that she met along the way.”
I always find it amazing when things connect throughout your day that remind you that the Universe has a rhythm, and we just need to find the beat in the messages that it has for us.
I started thinking about the “saints” in my life; my family, friends and the complete strangers who I have met along the way; the stories that have been shared with me, the stories that we share as a human race and the places where we connect. Our stories include struggles, hardships, laughter, joy, darkness, light and so much more, but we survive to share it and leave with others to build strength from, and to understand their own potential strength.
With some clarity I can say that faith is nothing more than the awakened knowledge that we are created to survive. It is the knowledge that even if tomorrow is not promised, if we are blessed to awaken in it, we can be witness to another day and perhaps come across another “saint” or maybe, just maybe, we may be able to see the “saint” in ourselves.
We don’t need scripture when we have testimony. We don’t need to look any further than ourselves and those around us. Faith is believing in our own and in each other’s divine unwavering spirit.