Faith As Daytoday Interpretation Of History

Faith is an act of understanding, a way of seeing. But faith knows that it remains with something which it cannot transcend; it remains there, knowing that there is something more. But who or what is it that goes beyond what is seen? First of all, hope-the hope that the Other will reveal himself. In the concrete, this comes down to love for the Other as Other. It is love that goes beyond the surface vision, the flaming bush which is the sign of the Other's presence. Every day we look at the surface of a person, at his or her face. But the face does not open us up to that person as the incomprehensible mystery of liberty that he or she is. We look at individuals and groups around us every day. We see them, but we do not see them as a free and mysterious Other.

We must acknowledge that our vision stops at the surface. We must wait hopefully for the revelation of the Other as Other in and through love. Only then can the Other reveal to us what lies hidden in the novel mystery of his liberty. Faith, hope, and charity are concrete anthropological attitudes for our day-to-day life in the real world. The love in question here is not some vague, general sort of love. It is a love for justice because it is a love for the Other as Other. It is a love for what is "Other" in him. It is a love for the Other insofar as the Other is not me; insofar as the Other has his own rights; insofar as the Other pro-vokes me and calls me forth, calling my attention to his rights and demandingjust treatment from me. That is how God reveals himself to Moses. He approaches the comfortable pastor in the desert and bids him to free the chosen people of God.

This dialogical structure will enable us to understand and appreciate what theology is. Having described the conditions which make listening possible, we must now consider the meaning of the revelatory word. What does it say? It does not just tell us what God as Other is; it also tells us what is happening in the concrete as far as God is concerned. God sees what is happening to us and reveals its meaning to us. He reveals himself to us in and by revealing the "sense" or "meaning" of day-to-day history.

A whole people was enslaved in Egypt. Moses, living in the desert, had not comprehended this people as such: i.e., as slaves in Egypt. Once God reveals to him that they are enslaved, Moses includes the world of these slaves in his own world and thereby discovers the meaningful connection between their slavery and his own life. To put it another way: I do not see God, but by faith he reveals to me the meaning of what I do see. And what is seen by me are historical events. Once they had no meaning for me. Thanks to divine revelation, however, they enter into my world with new meaningfulness.

That is what happened to Moses. The once carefree herdsman is suddenly plagued by pangs of conscience. If he does not go out and liberate his people, he will be conscious of having committed sin. If he remains in the desert, he will be a traitor to the call he has received. Faith does not permit me to see what is revealed to me. Rather, it enables me to see the import and meaning of happenings in history where the word of God is at work and where I will carry out my role as a Christian.

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