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Faith

Saved by faith

Faith healing

Faithful Giving

Prevailing Faith

Faith the size of a mustard seed

Faithful giving

Faithful friends

It is a subject I have great difficulty talking about.  It is a confusing concept for me to grasp.  I can extrapolate abstract ideas and make them concrete, make them happen.  It is something that I can do very well.  I struggle with the unseen, and it remaining so.  I see people faithfully pray for rain during a drought.  100 days later when it finally rains, they point to faithful prayers and an answer from God.  I truly believe I was a greedy man when God handed out skepticism. (And sarcasm, but that is probably another post.)  Abraham had faith, he was going to sacrifice his son to God.  It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t Abraham.  I would have said, “Hell no, have a nice day.”  Job was faithful and during his trials never once cursed God.  Let my computer slow down and watch what falls out of my mouth.  I’ve seen people latch on to “prosperity teachings” like starving children, only to be later bewildered and broke.  Add a super sized dose of laziness, waiting for things to be handed to me, and presto! If I had a monastery named after me, it would probably be called, “Our dudes with perpetual conundrums.”

During the RCIA retreat, I heard the best description of faith and how to attain it.

…– faith is not something you find, it is not something given to you.  Faith is a deliberate movement of the will. It is moving your will to align with God’s will. This is a continuous, deliberate and conscious choice that you make.

Oh!  I never really thought of it that way.  You mean, I can’t just show up to Mass and have it pop into my head?  Bummer.

Faith also requires several things of us.
First, it requires revelation, which you each have experienced in different ways, or you wouldn’t be here. And God willing, that revelation will continue throughout your life in what I like to call your faith journey.
 Well, I have certainly experienced that.  When I attended Mass and witnessed the Real Presence in the Eucharist.  When I look back at that day, and subsequent Masses I have attended, it is the fact that I understood what I was and was not seeing that has pushed me forward on a daily basis.
Second, it requires submission of the intellect and will to God. Again, faith is a deliberate movement of the will.
I knew there was a catch!  There always is.  Submission of intellect and will?!?!!?  Forgive me, I have been quite vested in the awareness that this is not something I do readily or easily.
Next, faith requires obedience. Now, obedience is a word we don’t like to hear these days and in this world. Obedience has become synonymous with following rules and being told what you can and cannot do. However, true obedience is a product of love, not coercion. Think about the things you have faith in – for most of us, we have (or at least had) faith in the love of our parents or other family members. We couldn’t prove it – couldn’t put our finger on it or hold it in your hand, but you just knew. You knew those people loved you. I think about this with my kids – even my son with autism who has a real hard time with understanding emotions, even he knows I love him even though he doesn’t know why. The same is vice verse. They may not always act like it, but I freely submit to the truth of their love for me.
Oh man, this doesn’t look good at all.  The only thing I am known to be obedient to is my stomach when it is hungry.
Lastly, faith requires trust. Trust is another word that is loaded with meaning in this world. Some of us are actually taught to not trust anyone else, to trust only yourself. Not only is this no way to live, you can’t have faith in God without trust in God…

When I heard this, it was like hammering the final nail in my coffin.  I don’t trust anyone, ever.  These things just do not happen in Roy’s world.

Or do they?

I did believe before I stepped foot in the Church, that it was where I needed to be.  I experienced the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist without any prior understanding of what that was.  I’ve continued to go, listen, pray, and learn.  It is changing who I am at the very core of my being.  I took a leap of faith when I asked Debbie to be my RCIA sponsor.  I trusted John with some of my deepest pain.  I trusted Amanda when that pain spilled over at the retreat.  I trust my fellow RCIA’ers when I share during dismissal.  Am I trusting these people, or maybe Christ within them?

All of the sudden, maybe seems like a wonderful place to be.  It also seems a million miles from where I started this faith journey.  If I had 1 wish granted, it would be that someday, the light of Christ would shine from my eyes as it does from these individuals.

*** I would like to thank Domini for allowing me to use her talk about faith as a background for this post***