Faith: beyond the five senses

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016

One of the many questions we hear in our lives, is the interrogatory, “Which of the five senses could you live without?” Taste, touch and smell are often quickly taken off of the list, as being something we could, seemingly, loose and put up with.
After all, this is only a hypothetical question as, for most of us, we are quickly overtaken by life’s larger questions.
This quick inventory reduces the options to merely two; sight and hearing.
It is here where the greater difficulty arises, as the individual’s likes and dislikes enter into the fray.
Some will hold they cannot do without their hearing, as loosing the sounds of life as experienced with the raucous activity of family, splendid music and the simple hearing of, “I love you,” are too extreme to be without. Others will claim their sight is the most precious, as the very thought of total darkness engenders a visceral fear within the person, as they consider the potential loss.
Of course, the potential of being bereft of either of these senses is remote.
Yet, many of us know of relatives, friends, or acquaintances who have adapted to the challenges of the loss of one, or more, of the five basic senses from birth, disease, war, or accident. Somehow, some have survived without sound, or sight.
In their adaptation, and within their success, they have learned to cope with life’s challenges; sometimes with assistance and, in the end, with their own fortitude. It is never an easy road to take, but given the circumstances, there are few alternatives.
For the majority of us, we have complete sensory faculties at our disposal.
The ability to reach out and provide a caring caress to a troubled child; the smell of a pot of gumbo on the stove; the taste of the gumbo recalling the recipe of a departed Memaw; the vision of a newborn in the loving arms of the new parent and the sound of the cry in the setting.
Each of these five senses are so precious and valuable, to each of us. Yet, in the harsh light of our lives, with God, we are all suffering a certain lack to our senses; a certain lack of understanding and fulfillment. Our blindness, and the lack of hearing of His call to us, limits our understandings and our relationships.
However, this is not an incurable challenge. It does not require surgery, or medication, in order for there to be a recovery to our limitations.
What is called for is the supplication of our egos, as we open our eyes and ears to the wondrous words and actions which have been provided to us. In a very real way, we are to use another sense: the sense of Faith.
In Faith, we use this sense of our oneness with God and His message for us. In our nurturing and exercising of this sense, we experience the comfort, consolation and sacrifices which are made for us, and the potential for eternal life.
Even if we have the absence of physical senses, the palpable sense of having Faith within ourselves is, perhaps, the greatest sensory gift and is only lost by our choice, not earthly chance.

Father Jonathan Filkins

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