Monday, April 23, 2012

Caputo on Faith, Hope, and Love

"Think about faith, hope, and charity singled out by St. Paul. When is faith really faith? Not when it is looking more and more like we are right, but when the situation is beginning to look impossible, in the darkest night of the soul. The more credible things are, the less faith is required, but the more incredible things seem, the more faith is required, the faith that is said to move mountains.

So, too, hope is hope not when we have every reason to expect a favorable outcome, which is nothing more than a reasonable expectation (the virtue of a stockbroker), but when it is beginning to look hopeless, when we are called on to "hope against hope," as St. Paul says (Rom. 4:18), which is a magnificently deconstructive turnof phrase. 

This is above all true of love, where loving those who are lovable or those who love you makes perfect sense. But when is love really love? When does love burn white hot? When we love those who are not lovable or who do not love us - in short, when we love our enemies. 

In other words, we are really on the way of faith and hope and love when the way is blocked; we are really under way when the way seems impossible, where this 'impossible' makes the way possible. It is precisely the 'not' that makes the 'path' kick into high gear."

- John Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?


  1. I thought it was interesting Mr. Caputo started by using the word charity to represent love.And what he said about faith, hope, and love being known and real under the darkest of times reminded me of the quote by Carlo Carretto:

    …Things speak for themselves; the heavens themselves speak.
    But God comes in silence…
    I know that the path of faith, hope and charity leads in the opposite direction from the path of illusion.
    It leads towards God’s silence.
    Towards the starkness of the Cross.
    Towards the transparency of night.
    It is like light. In the cosmos all is dark, outside the atmosphere all is dark.
    Yet nothing is more luminous than this pure darkness….
    Take away the support of superstition and you are left with a faith so rickety that it can’t go on standing up.
    True faith does not need to feel: it believes.
    Mature faith has no need to see: it believes.
    It is nourished by silence, not by noise.
    By contemplation, not by prodigies.
    By the word of God, not by superstition…

    Thanks for sharing,


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Beautiful, Alice. Thanks for sharing. That poem would fit right into the chapter from which I copied Caputo's text. Here is a bit more from that chapter:

    "So we start to see how deeply the not is embedded in the path, how deeply the impasse is embedded in the pass, and more generally how deeply the impossible is embedded in the possible - almost to the point that, far from being a simple play on words among wild-eyed French theorists, it is beginning to look like a law, and indeed one very close to the religious heart."