From John Henry Cardinal Newman:
Many a man seems to have no grasp at all of doctrinal truth. He cannot get himself to think it of importance what a man believes, and what not. He tries to do so; for a time he does; he does for a time think that a certain faith is necessary for salvation, that certain doctrines are to be put forth and maintained in charity to the souls of men. Yet though he thinks so one day, he changes the next; he holds the truth, and then lets it go again. He is filled with doubts; suddenly the question crosses him, “Is it possible that such and such a doctrine is necessary?” and he relapses into an uncomfortable sceptical state, out of which there is no outlet. Reasonings do not convince him; he cannot be convinced; he has no grasp of truth. Why? Because the next world is not a reality to him; it only exists in his mind in the form of certain conclusions from certain reasonings. It is but an inference; and never can be more, never can be present to his mind, until he acts, instead of arguing. Let him but act as if the next world were before him; let him but give himself to such devotional exercises as we ought to observe in the presence of an Almighty, All-holy, and All-merciful God, and it will be a rare case indeed if his difficulties do not vanish.
– From the 1837 Sermon, The Moral Effects of Communion with God
How is it that one can believe something in his mind but not act as if it were true? This is the mystery of the human person’s estrangement from God – original sin and concupiscence.
It is remarkable, I think, to consider how very many of our problems with faith would disappear if only we pray consistently: morning, noon, and at night.
If you believe in Christ, in God, then pray. If you want to believe in Christ, then pray. It is little use talking or thinking about God if you will neither speak nor listen to him.
Morning, noon, and night; morning, noon, and night; morning, noon, and night.