Restraint

What keeps me from believing?

One would think that the mere desire might be enough. Czesław Miłosz wrote:

The Catholic Church wisely recognized that faith is more a matter of collective suggestion than of individual conviction. Collective religious ceremonies induce a state of belief. Folding one’s hands in prayer, kneeling, singing hymns precede faith, for faith is a psycho-physical and not simply a psychological phenomenon.

That makes me think that if I just attend Mass and kneel to  pray long enough, I’ll believe. Wouldn’t that be too easy? And isn’t that really the effect of a group serving as a legitimizing structure, a sort of group suggestion? “I’m okay; you’re okay”?

I just wish sometimes that there were more to it than that. I sometimes long to lose my senses and fall in admiration — even praise — of someone. To do so in ritual, in the warm embrace of certainty.

And what stops me? Ego. It’s a long time unwinding that mess.

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