Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do you still have no faith?

If you have faith in Christ, you will also have courage. If you do not have courage, it is because you do not have faith.

Gospel text (Mk 4:35-41): On that same day when eve­ning had come, Jesus said to them, «Let's go across to the other side». So they left the crowd and took him away in the boat he had been sitting in, and other boats set out with him. Then a storm gathered and it began to blow a gale. The waves spilled over into the boat so that it was soon filled with water. And Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. They woke him up and said, «Master, don't you care if we sink?».

As Jesus awoke, He rebuked the wind and ordered the sea, «Quiet now! Be still!». The wind dropped and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to them, «Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?». But they were terrified and they said to one another, «Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him!».

“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Why fear bodily harm, if you have faith? You might consider placing yourself as one of the disciples in this scene in contemplation, imagining how you would feel, how you would react to Jesus’ comments (rebukes?).

So, again, what is faith to you? Aquinas said, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” Gandhi stated, “There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” Patrick Overton described faith as follows: “When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”

Faith – in who? I suspect we all have experienced times when we have placed trust (faith?) in another person, or organization, or other human endeavor, only to experience disappointment, anger, frustration, when they inevitably let us down or don’t live up to our expectations. But God doesn’t disappoint us, never lets us down, and always exceeds our expectations.

What do you understand faith in God to mean? Is your faith ebbing, or flowing? Is your faith vibrant and pulsing, or is it shallow and perfunctory? Does your faith move you to act, to change your life, to be less worried, to be more open to God’s surprises? Does your faith move you closer to re-union with God?

At times in my life, my faith has been weaker than others. At times I have been un-faith-full to my call to strengthen and renew my relationship with God. But I can’t recall a time when God has given up on me. I can’t recall a time when there hasn’t been some small voice that reminds me to repair this broken relationship. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t yearned for more – understanding, solace, peace, joy – that comes from knowing God is there for me. I don’t question where this voice, this yearning comes from, I am only grateful that it is there, that it moves me to seek more, and to try harder, and move closer, to the one person in whom I know that my faith always will be safe.

And so my prayer today is for the grace to strengthen my faith, to be faith-full in seeking God, and to let go of the worry that I let creep into my life.

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