We live in an age of faithlessness; there isn’t much that we believe in anymore. Although we claim we are a religious people and that there is a God out there who we talk to and believe in, we too often don’t act like we are a people of faith. For most of us our faith is for show, practiced on Sundays and then forgotten the rest of the week.
As someone who has struggled with his faith, I was overjoyed to read Mitch Albom’s new book Have a Little Faith. Albom, of Tuesdays With Morrie fame, has written a love story about the faith of two men, a rabbi from his hometown in New Jersey and an ex-con minister from the mean streets of
The rabbi, Al Lewis, is an unabashed champion of faith; he believes passionately in God, knows there is a heaven, and is convinced that what happens in this world is the work of a Supreme Being, who has given us free will with the hope that we won’t make a mess of things.
The ex-con minister is Henry Covington, who runs a homeless shelter out of a broken down church. Henry also is a man of deep faith, but his conversion to God came after he spent the night with a shotgun waiting for drug dealers to take their revenge. Henry’s transformation is the direct result of a pact made with God. Times are tough for the Reverend, but as he says, God will provide and God is looking out for him and his congregation.
I could not help coming away from the book with a sense of envy as these two men put their lives and their careers in the hands of God and never wavered in their belief. Like Mitch Albom, most of us have a ” little faith” but not the kind of faith of Al Lewis and Henry Covington; these men just knew that they were part of God’s plan and that God was guiding them through life with all its ups and downs.
The three great virtues of the Judeo-Christian tradition are faith, hope and charity. For many of us the hope and charity part are pretty clear – we hope that good will overcome evil and we take care of our neighbor. It is the faith virtue that we often fail to understand and appreciate. In this world of science and narcissism it is hard sometimes to believe that seomone else is the center of the universe, guiding us, saving us, hoping the best for us.
I came away from Mitch Albom’s book with a renewed sense of faith, unfortunately not the faith of Rabbi Lewis and Reverend Covington, but enough faith to be convinced that I am not alone and that someone, some force, some being is with me, and that I owe that someone, that force and that supreme being a profound thank you for watching over me.