Monday, October 7, 2013

Gift of Faith

Friends of Faith:

Faith is a Gift.
And if you are reading this you have already been given a seed of the gift of faith.

Are you growing that seed?
It is up to each of us to nourish it with prayer and through the continual enrichment of education about Christ and His Church; to spread it truthfully to others; and to water it with tears of suffering and joy so that it stays fresh and energized.

"The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. "Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table'? Would he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished'? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'" Lk 17:5-10
Reacting to faith is Work. And working because of my faith makes me yearn to see others grow in their own faith.  "So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Jm 2:17

Increasing faith, increases faith: so the more I believe, the more convicted I am to work in my belief. But the more I believe, the more likely I am to be tested by storm in that belief. (This is in part because it is easier to see the lack of others faith, which saddens and can discourage me, and partly because God will allow me to be tested to see if I can withstand stronger and stronger storms.) And so the greater my faith, the greater the challenges become in doing the work of living in that faith.
Faith, in the example of Jesus, requires us to do more than just get by, and more than just enough. We shouldn’t just expect to come in from the field (to go to church for a one hour obligation, or to say we’ve been saved) and take our place at table (heaven.) Jesus gave His all, in hope that we will give Him our all.

Faith requires us to trust and to have courage. It invites us to stand up and not be ashamed of speaking God’s truth. It challenges us to bear hardship and suffer when the truth creates a division between those who believe and those who do not, even when that division is with someone we love (a friend, sister or brother, or a parent).
“Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.
“Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.” 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14

We want to see God—but in our own time. We complain that working in and through our faith is not bearing the fruit we want. So we grow impatient, forgetting that God will never disappoint us.
How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live. Hb 1: 2-3, 2: 2-4

Ignoring or rejecting faith can cause sin, and causes us to weaken. BUT the Reward of Faith is Heaven—IF we wait and IF we trust, if we sow and grow. If we will only believe in that faith that God is in charge and that prayer, patience and perseverance always bear fruit. His Love will never fail.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever. Amen.

In the words of Fr. Larry Richards…Faith…”Got it! Get it! Gonna do it?”
Have Faith!

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