There are two kinds of belief: belief that something is true and belief in someone as trustworthy. In both cases, one must make a judgment. But in the first case, the judgment is based more on rational reflection than on subjective experience; in the second case, the judgment arises from a strong feeling-level experience rather than from purely logical argument. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day” (John 6:44). The Father is offering us eternal life in and through our positive response to a feeling-level experience of Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). But to make that leap of faith, we need divine grace, deep trust in God’s personal care for us as mistake-prone pilgrims on the way to salvation.
—Fr. Joseph Bracken, S.J. is an emeritus professor of theology at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH