I saw an interesting survey recently, from the Pew Research Center, that asked respondents to indicate which local news topics they considered to be important for daily life. Topics included things like the weather, crime, traffic, schools, sports, and so forth.
Not surprisingly, the topic chosen for having the most importance in daily life was the weather. A whopping seventy percent of respondents checked that box. (The next popular choice was crime, at forty-four percent.) The choice of weather makes sense, for after all, as we navigate our daily activities, it often makes a difference if it’s sunny and warm, windy and rainy or, heaven forbid, cold and snowy. And besides, what else would you talk about when you’re riding an elevator with strangers?
But I was surprised, disappointed even, that of the eleven topics covered in the survey, “faith” or “religion” wasn’t even listed as an option. I don’t understand why it was omitted, because even in our secular, atheistic culture, religious faith continues to be really important for lots of folks. And for those who do have faith, it’s often a major factor in determining the direction of their lives.
It is faith that provides the guidebook to help us make important moral decisions and critical choices in our daily lives. It is faith that offers us comfort and consolation when we encounter suffering and disappointment. It is faith that provides a broader, eternal perspective that allows us to weave the threads of our lives into a meaningful tapestry. And it is faith that lifts our spirits from the beige drudgery of daily routine to the promise of a much brighter future, filled with the hope and glory of eternal life.
In a quote I’ve frequently referenced, Pope Francis wrote that: “There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.” (Lumen Fidei, #4)
I don’t know about you, but I can’t begin to imagine life without faith. Although it wasn’t on the survey, it’s far more important for me than the other topics listed, like restaurants, sports, politics and, yes, even the weather!
Something to think about: What are some practical, concrete ways in which your faith affects your daily life?