“If you had faith the size of a mustard seed… ”
(Luke 17: 5-10)
My dear Family in Christ,
Our readings this Sunday bring to our attention a word that we hear often. We see it etched in coffee mugs, written on shirts and bumper stickers, hung on the walls at home, and even tattooed on bodies- we also hear this word mocked by those who scoff at it.
The word is ‘Faith’. For many, faith is something that is interpreted loosely to mean different things; a vague hope in ‘something greater than ourselves or this world’, trust that ‘everything is going to be ok’, or even something childish that runs counter to reason- but the Catholic understanding of Faith is different. It is specific, beautiful, and perhaps even greater than what you and I might have thought. (For a far better read on ‘Faith’, see the Catechism, paragraphs 142-165)
In the first place, Faith is one of the three Supernatural Virtues (alongside Hope and Love), and are called Supernatural because in and of ourselves, we could never actually acquire them. They must actually be infused in us by God Himself, which happens most ordinarily and fittingly at our Baptism. Faith is a virtue because it is a particular grace given to us by God for the accomplishment of a great work: our salvation.
Since we receive it freely from God, Faith is also a gift: no one can have faith who has not first received it freely from God. God pours into our hearts the gift of Faith because He loves us and knows that without Faith, we could never come to know Him or love Him, much less be with Him forever in Heaven. If you’re reading this, and you have received this great gift, is it on the list of things you thank God for every day? Personally, it’s one of the easiest things to take for granted- right up there with my health and my family. But could you imagine life without it?
Finally, Faith is also a choice- God’s gift to us is not an imposition, but it does demand a response. What will we do with this gift? Do we feed the flame, or let it die? Do we strengthen it by the worthy reception of the Eucharist, regular Confession, and daily prayer? Do we expose ourselves to the stories of those heroic Saints whose great Faith strengthens our own? Do we surround ourselves with people who strengthen our Faith? Do we take advantage of opportunities to increase our Faith by studying it (*cough* like at our weekly RCIA Faith Studies which will take place every Tuesday in the Ferrando room after the 7pm Mass begin with an information session this coming Tuesday, October 4th *cough*)?
It might not be easy, but it’s also not rocket science. “Lord, increase our Faith!”
God love you,