The doubt

Publish date 10-03-2021

by Cesare Falletti

Women and men have received the ability to judge, not infallibly (it is not given to us for our limits) but, if we are honest, in a fair way. We can also correct ourselves, realizing that what previously seemed right to us, as life progresses, shows other aspects, other facets that invite us to review our certainties.

This is a capital capacity that we have been endowed with. We also have two other capabilities, both of which are ambivalent: they can destroy or grow. The first is the doubt that drives us to always look beyond the limit we have already reached. Doubt can be very negative because it starts from a lack of trust, and this is destructive in interpersonal or social relationships in general and therefore cannot lead to a search for truth, which is the purpose of reason that seeks the good. But doubt can also give us that humility that removes us from our proud certainties, which close us to attention to others. Doubt pushes us beyond our certainties, without calling into question the trust in what we are given. In fact, it is not the opposite of trust, but the key to an inner openness that allows us to go out of ourselves to receive riches that push us towards goals that are ever closer to the truth. It is the case of the Lord who asks Jonah: «Are you sure you are right to be angry?», Because the prophet protested against the mercy of the Lord, which was acting against his expectations.

Doubting our certainties does not mean not having them, but verifying them. We can therefore say that good doubt is what removes us from our proud certainties, which become arrogant, and opens us to listening. The deleterious doubt is what we oppose to what comes to us from the outside without taking the time to evaluate it to know if it is good to accept or reject it.
This must be assessed by doubt, except when we want to welcome the gift of faith; but this is a particular field and well limited to the Word of God and to the whole mystery of Revelation.

Another wealth we possess is the ability to ask. Also in this field the question can be an entrenchment behind the suspicion that interrupts and makes every human relationship impossible. There are questions that do not await an answer; they already know and are asked only to embarrass the interlocutor and therefore are hypocritical, unless they are rhetorical questions that are not true questions. The real question, on the other hand, makes one dependent on each other, waiting for an answer that opens a path and creating an interpersonal communion. The question empowers those who ask it and the one who answers, because the first declares himself available to a true listening, and the one who answers takes on the responsibility of opening a new path to the one to whom he answers. The question can be a great support for the assent and respect of the one to whom it is asked.
It is the case of Maria that she asked, not to question, but to collaborate: "How will this happen?".

Asking to have or to know is the opposite of seizing oneself by violating the will and the personality of others, breaking every true interpersonal bond, to bind to oneself like a slave.
Judge is the freedom that we keep for ourselves and that we leave to others. The question gives us the freedom to truly welcome the other with his need or his proposal. And this sheds light on the very important difference in our personal and social life between desire and demand. Both start from a void that exists in us, but either they reach the person of others and create communion, or they destroy it and create loneliness.

Cesare Falletti
NP December 2020

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