Most people probably would agree that it takes a lot of motivation to accomplish anything. Motivation can come from within and outside of oneself. Often it is a combination. Something makes an impression through our senses that seems to collide with our experience. It becomes relative to us and it becomes important. Scriptures say that a person’s heart can be found where his or her treasure lies. Basically motivation can be found in what makes a person tick and helps him or her to keep on ticking. It can have biological, emotional, sociological, cognitive, and/or spiritual sources. There are many different theories of motivation ranging from survival to self-actualization.
Motivation to change
One aspect of helping a person heal from an addiction is aiding the person to develop his or her level of motivation. There is a whole process of determining if the person has any motivation to change at all and to what extent a person is about to make a change. It is debated whether or not a person must reach “rock bottom” to change. Most often however, something or some thought makes an impression on the person. Most long-term success occurs when a person is not coerced, but rather does something by free will. In fact, in my studies I remember reading that a pushy counselor does not have very good success rates.
Something must have happened
After visiting Rome, I am struck with the amount of Churches that happen to dot that cityscape. Rome is known to have over 900 Churches. Something must have motivated people to build big Churches and so many of them. It appears to have been a huge investment of time, money, resources, labor, and even prayers. Some even took several centuries to build and have been rebuilt many times. If something that has made an impression, there is always evidence. The building of the Churches was so important that it spread throughout the whole world and even to our current culture. People like to brag about what is important to them. If one wants to strike up a conversation with someone, talk about their interests. It is also known that so many were motivated to the extent that they lost their lives for the sake of Christianity. A famous quote by historian Tertullian is that “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Smitten by His splendor
Years ago when my friends and I were in the dating scene, we used to joke about finding someone with whom we could “be blinded by his splendor.” Although we always added the condition that he must not also be a “legend in his own mind.” Anyone who has ever fallen in love, knows what it is like to be preoccupied with the beloved. The whole of life is observed through the lens of the beloved. In other words, one develops a one-track mind.
In the spiritual sense, many Saints have had the experience of being smitten by the splendor of God. St. Francis of Assisi is known to refer to Jesus as “My All in all.” St. Paul the Apostle fell off his proverbial horse and was blinded. Something of that sort struck me about the Disciples upon hearing the reading pertaining to St. Thomas in Chapter 20 of the Gospel according to St. John:
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nail marks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
As the story goes, St. Thomas was not impressed with what the other Disciples told him pertaining to Jesus’ Resurrection. However, after actually feeling the sacred wounds of Jesus’ hands and side, he exclaimed, “My Lord and My God!” Something definitely made an impression on him and from that day forward he believed. And the faith that the others received without feeling or seeing also made an impression on them as can be evidenced by history and thus the many Churches. I think it is interesting to learn that St. Thomas was also called Didymus which means “twin.” We can wonder who that twin was. We can see that in some ways, we are all like a twin of St. Thomas. We need physical evidence for proof that something must have happened. This is where I make my point. We do have lots of physical evidence. Look around us and look at our culture. Something must have happened to make such an impression on history.
This is why it is often a useless point to try to prove the historical existence of Jesus when so much is evidenced in what has happened and has been built before us. Something must have happened in the fullness of time.