I myself was never taught it. Not withstanding all for which I am truly grateful, I regret most deeply that so many years of my life went by before I was led to the fact. I am willing to believe that the lack of understanding was my own fault, but a lack of understanding there was. I got the impression that God, so far from making Himself known to me, was hiding away from me, and that I must have faith to believe in One of whom I had no more than hearsay evidence. If I could do this violence to such measure of reason as I possessed, I could count on a reward in some other world than this, though on little or nothing here.

Faith I saw as of the nature of a tour de force. You took it as you took a leap. It was spiritually acrobatic. You didn’t understand but you believed. The less you understood the more credit your belief became to you. The more hidden and difficult and mysterious and unintelligible God made Himself the greater your merit in having faith in spite of everything. I am far from saying that this is the common understanding of Christians, or from holding others responsible for my misconceptions. I speak of these misconceptions only because they were mine, and it was I who had to work away from them.

For this reason too, I speak of my reaching the idea of a God who had been visibly smiling at me all my life while I had never seen Him, as a “discovery”. To me it was a discovery; and it came at a moment when I sorely needed something of the kind.


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