Neil’s Personal Creed

From McKenty Live! The Lines are Still Blazing..
Although I left the Jesuit priesthood in 1969 I still consider myself a practicing Roman Catholic. Those of us who believe in a God and believe we have been created in the image of God, relate to God in our own way. Some do not relate to God at all. What I do believe is that God writes straight with crooked lines, that everyone has to experience a degree of personal suffering to become more whole. We develop ourselves from the inside out. Most people are not comfortable in their own skin and seek ways to relieve their discomfort, often trying to fill a spiritual vacuum with material things. That is why there is such a spiritual malaise in the Western world and why so many people, particularly younger people, are leaving traditional religion to experiment, especially with religions of the East.

I think we must lose our life in order to find it. What I had to lose was my obsessive need to control. This need was so pervasive, so embedded in my bones, that a spiritual crisis had to occur for me to fall to my knees and ask for help. Whatever it is, we must endure a painful experience that transforms the way we feel about ourselves and the way we perceive the world. It involves relying on a power greater than ourselves which some people call God. It will also mean discipline and some practice of habitual prayer. And by prayer, I mean only a simple and honest reaching out of the human heart toward whatever power there may be at the foundation of life. Of course I can’t prove there is a God. But even at the rational level, I think the existence of this world makes more sense with a God than without one. I believe there is an afterlife, and the way we live in this world will affect the way we will live there.

I do not censure or condemn those who do not or cannot believe in God. I say only that faith is a gift, that I am a believer, and pray I remain so until my earthly end. I cannot put it better than Morris West, who wrote, “I have learned to be grateful for the small candle that lights my faltering steps and hope that when it gutters out, I may wake to a final illumination.”

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