“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” ― C.S. Lewis: (1898 –1963: was a British novelist, poet, academic)
Gospel Text: (LK 17:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.”
And 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.”
At the end of this account the disciples ask Jesus “Increase our faith”, but some could ask “What actually is faith?”
Usually people define faith as an intellectual capability to accept something as truth. And it seems to be right. Truth, as St. Aquinas has taught us, is Veritas est adæquatio intellectus et rei – the conformity of the intellect to the things. We need to store in our mind some patterns that allow us to recognize truth, even if we can’t see it. Accepting that what Jesus tells us is truth is a first stage of Christian faith. And this is the easiest part.
The next stage is much harder to achieve. There are not always “the things” we have to change to be true. Sometimes “the conformity of intellect to the things” means that patterns we keep in our minds have to change. The new patterns tell us about the need of being correct to others and of course forgiving them always.
Moreover, the way the disciples asked for faith is curious. They said “increase our faith” instead of “make our faith greater”. We need to remember that faith is a process. It is given to us as a Lord’s grace at the beginning when we accept the Word as a truth.