Work Out Your Faith, Hope, and Charity With Us!
By Arvin Gouw, Ph.D.
Cancer InCytes Magazine - Volume 5, Issue 1, Summer 2016
Faith, hope, and charity are not feelings that we have regarding God, religion, or any social cause. They are habits. It is then no surprise that our dependence on God, positive outlook for the future, and feeling of love wanes over time. How often do we commit to finish reading the Bible in a year on that New Year’s Eve, and never go further than the book of Genesis? You may read CIM articles every quarter that refresh your motivation for helping the disadvantaged and fighting social injustice, and then lose momentum within a week. Emotional fuel gives a burst of motivation that then wanes over time. We feel bad for this, but this is perfectly normal. It’s just that we have a mistaken understanding of what faith, hope, and charity actually are.
Faith, hope, and charity are virtues and habits. This is a classic understanding that goes all the way back to Aristotle over two thousand years ago, which we have lost today. A habit is something that develops over time through practice, askesis (the root word for asceticism, and the intention of monks to focus on God in solitude through routine cycles of prayer and work). Like any form of practice, it never has a pleasant start. Nobody completes their first month of daily morning runs without days of hitting the snooze button repeatedly from under your blankets. Practice is hard. But this is what we need to form a habit – practice, not feelings.
You may not be a religious person, but that does not change the fact that you have your own object of faith, hope, and charity - the one thing that draws you to wake up every morning. It might be financial security, career success, or it could be your belief in world peace, a green earth, etc. Here at CIM we have decided that we want to struggle together through our writing against social injustice. If you decide to partake in this cause with us, then I urge you to practice to develop a habit in promoting this cause. Practice means routine activities that keep us tuned to what we have committed ourselves to. Some of you might start by dedicating monthly donations to our cause, or you might decide to dedicate writing for CIM monthly. Whatever you decide to do, work hard to stick with it, until in the end it becomes second nature to you.
In the end, we are in a world where news of human trafficking and social injustices are buried amidst celebrity news and election shenanigans that are far more entertaining. We are in the same boat paddling against the current. I urge you to paddle with us. Before you know it, we will have traveled further than we thought we could ever go.
Arvin Gouw, Ph.D.
Senior Editor, Biological Sciences
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