By Richard P. Holm, MD
How do any of us cope with the catastrophes of life? Years ago, a couple faced the tragedy of an accidental death of their young, only child. Even though most marriages don’t survive such an insult, this one did. Between that woman and man, there was love, forgiveness, and the Church. The people of the congregation, like the wings of a mother hen, surrounded the couple with support, comfort, and warmth.
Some critics of organized religion say that we are hard-wired to believe in God. They say that it explains why religion exists but not why God exists. They point out that no society has survived more than three generations without a religious foundation including belief in prayer, the afterlife, and ritual, but just because we need God, doesn’t mean God exists. I contend that the opposite is true and am reassured of God’s presence by this and more observations.
I am reassured of God’s presence when watching a religious based rehabilitation program help men find their way back from drug or alcohol abuse. The leaders, who fill a mentor role, teach “It is not about you. . . it is about loving others and loving God.” I am reassured when studying the complexity of the human heart and the way the muscles, valves, and arteries interact while sending blood with oxygen and nutrition to every cell in the body. I am reassured when our Hopeful Spirit Chorale sings and brings spiritual connection to the hearts and joyful tears to the eyes of those listening and singing. I am reassured when a church, mosque, or synagogue full of people saying the Lord’s Prayer, or any prayer in unison, reverberates within the souls of the congregation. I am reassured when watching a flock of birds or a school of fish move together and change direction as if one organism, in sync by some ancient and holy spirit.
As a medical doctor caring for people through the years, I have had to rely on science with which to try to help resolve the health problems people face. In caring for people, especially at the end of their lives, I have realized that most times science is simply not enough. There is another place to where people need to go for help when the finale is near. The Spiritual realm, in my view, is all around us, if we listen very carefully for it, and this Divine Essence provides, for many, great meaning and help.
In one famous interview of Mother Theresa the interviewer asked her how she prays. “I listen” was her response.
“What does God say in return?” was the next question.