Novena - Oremus
471

Only the Atheist can truly believe in God:

(A Carthusian:)
"In one sense, only the atheist (a-theos, without-God) can truly believe in God. Let me explain: it is necessary that the God of our imagination die, the God of our projections and desires (who is none other than our Ego deified); the God who stands alongside the cosmos as some-'thing' else, who stands alongside the neighbor as someone else, in competition with him or her to win my love; the God of whom it suffices to know the general moral rules in order to do his will; the God infinitely above his creatures pains in a transcendence beyond reach; the God-judge, who punishes in accord with a justice conceived along human lines; the God who blocks spontaneity of life and love. Such a God must die to make room for a God strangely close and familiar and nevertheless totally beyond our grasp; a God who bears a human face - that of Christ, that of my brother; who is love in a way that defies all our human notions of justice; who is generosity, overflowing life, gratuitousness, unpredictable liberty; who does nothing 'in general', but who is always the 'You' facing that 'I'. Supreme personality in the total gift of himself, he is in the inmost depths of every person, the source of all personality, never alongside human persons, and yet distinct from them. . . His true greatness is his humility which impelled him to become man. His wealth is the poverty of love. He has suffered - eternally? - even while being infinite Bliss.
I said that only the atheist can truly believe in God, for the atheist has nothing but the human. Thus, he can engage his whole being, if he has assumed it fully and lucidly, in an act of faith and gift of himself which open onto the pure Mystery of a God who is All and Nothing. It is not only God who has vanished . . . : the worshipper has also collapsed under the demoralizing effect of an ever greater lucidity about the complexities and ambiguities of his actions. Little by little, the hidden layers of the psyche are laid bare; the evasions, the detours of egoism and fear, all the wolves in sheep's clothing, the corruption of the heart which is the very source of all our actions and prayers. We have to recognize that the pious lad or lass of former times was only a mask, at least in part; veneration was an instinctive fear before the invisible and the judge; obedience, a calculation and a constraint; love, a subjective emotion produced quite artificially and out of proportion with its meagre results in real life; austerity, the expression of a masochistic desire for self-punishment to allay a neurotic guilt-complex; desire for solitude, the evasion scheme of a crippled personality unable to integrate itself into the life of humankind.
We should not lose courage since, in the last analysis, we do not count on a justice of our own, but on Christ, in faith. . . .To accept ourselves as we are is to situate ourselves in the truth; and in the face of this true self is the love of God which is infinitely rich. Our poverty is the measure of our receptivity, not only with respect to God's gifts, but with respect to God himself in the union of love. We should aspire to this poverty as a crystal might seek to be perfectly transparent, in order to become pure light. In love, this poverty is freedom and joy, like God himself."