Sr Inigo Joachim SSA, Dwarka, New Delhi, India
my Faith Lord!
I was on the net reading email@example.com.
And there was an inspirational passage which
touched me deeply. An
elderly gentleman in his 80’s, arrived at a health centre to have stitches
removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an
. The nurse saw him looking at his watch and she
decided, since she was not busy with another patient, to check his wound. On
examination it was found well healed, so she talked to one of the doctors, got
the needed supplies to remove his sutures and re-dress his wound. While taking
care of his wound, she began to engage him in conversation.
nurse asked him if he had any urgent appointment that morning, as he was in such
a hurry. The gentleman told her no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to
eat breakfast with his wife. She then inquired as to her health. He told her
that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s
disease. As they talked and as the dressing was over, she asked whether his wife
would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he
was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. The nurse was surprised,
and asked him. "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t
know who you are?" He smiled and said, "She
doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is."
had to hold back my tears as I was reading this story and thought, "That is
the kind of love we all want in our life." True love is neither physical,
nor romantic. True love is an acceptance
in faith, of all that is, has been, will
be, and will not be.
often we are not fortunate enough to experience such unconditional,
compassionate and all encompassing love in real life. Sometimes we even wonder
why God is also silent and indifferent to our plight. We pray for happiness,
love, good health, and well being of our own and peace. We express so many of
our needs in what we call “the prayer of the faithful”. We implore and
virtually plead for divine mercy in our churches and shrines. We do penance,
fasting prayer and night vigils as we experience anguish and frustrations in our
life. We wonder why they are not blessed or are not receiving deliverance from
God when it is needed. We lack faith, which comes from the Spirit of God.
We at times even get angry, blaming
God for his silence in our times of trouble. We read in the Scriptures in many
places very consoling and healing words like “Don’t be troubled” (Jn:
14:1); “Peace be with you” (Jn:
); “My grace is sufficient for
you” (II Cor: 12:9); “I carved your name on my palm” (Is: 49: 16); “I
will not test you beyond your strength” (I Cor:
) and so on.
in real life, we face disasters and disappointments. We start questioning: How
can a caring and compassionate God create such havoc, loss and anguish? At times
we ask ourselves, “Why should I believe in God when my prayers go
unanswered”? Sometimes we say,
“If our God is alive, why is there so much suffering?” Is he so insensitive and unaware that he does not know of our challenges? When everything goes upside down in life and when we see unjust people thrive and enjoy life, how can we have faith in this God? Where is the God we pray to? Is He concerned about the welfare of his favourite children or wondering why His chosen ones become martyrs or are killed?
we are struggling with such questions and looking for answers, here comes an
announcement by Holy Father Benedict XVI about a special “Year of faith”, a call for an
authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord in order to help us appreciate the
gift of faith, discover the reality of who God is and strengthen our commitment
to sharing faith with others.
It is the ardent desire of the Holy Father that this year would arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess his/her faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It is our hope that the Year of Faith will not only be filled with exemplary initiatives and beautiful celebrations, but also promote a sense of renewal in the profound relationship between God, his Son Jesus Christ and believers, against the ever decreasing awareness of the religious dimension of human life. A serious problem for the Church today is the lack of knowledge of the faith, “religious illiteracy”, and with this illiteracy we are unable to grow. We ourselves must therefore recover this content, as a wealth of unity, not a packet of dogmas and laws.
is faith? What is this year of faith calling us to? What is the context which
inspired the Holy Father to choose this theme for this year? How will this year
be a moment of grace to reinforce our faith in Him and to proclaim Him with joy
to the people of our time?
child was crossing the narrow bridge with her father.
He said to her: “Hold my
hand child as we are crossing a narrow bridge. The child after a while said:
Daddy, you hold my hand. What is the difference? the Father asked. The child
said: “In case anything happens, I may let go of your hand and I may fall.
Even if anything happens to you, if you hold me you will not let go my hand”.
This is the simple definition of faith.
is a profoundly a personal act:
faith of Abraham has been lauded by Yahweh in Gen:
. Paul reminds us
in Gal: 3: 7, “That those who follow the way of faith are the children of
Abraham and by faith the righteous shall live” (Gal:
). Let us think of
the woman who touches the hem of his garment in the hope of being healed (cf. Mt
-21); she entrusts
herself totally and the Lord says: your faith has made you well (cf. Mt
). He also says to
the lepers and to the only one who turns back: your faith has made you well (cf.
). To the two
blind men who were calling out His name for healing Jesus asked whether they
have faith in Him and touching their eyes He said:, “As you have believed, so
let it be” (Mt: 9: 29). When
the gentile woman reposed her faith in Jesus, He was astonished and said,
“Woman, great is your faith!” (Mt:
faith is initially and especially a personal encounter, it is touching
Christ’s garment, being touched by Christ, being in touch with Christ, to
trust in Christ, to have and to find Christ’s love; and the key to truth, to
universality, is Christ’s love. Jesus
states in the following passages of Scripture: Lk:
; Mt: 17:
nothing is impossible for the one who has faith in His Father.
is also a communitarian act
condemns the faithless people and his disciples saying “You, faithless and
evil people” (Mt: 17: 17-20). He
was surprised and astounded at the disbelief of the people of his home town (Mk:
6:6). When the paralyzed man was brought to Jesus, Jesus saw their faith and
healed the sick person (Mt: 9:2).
is not merely something you exercise during life’s moments of crisis. It is
not just something to consider when “things aren’t going well.” In other
words, faith is not just for the “bad times”—it is full-time! Grasp this
vital point. Faith is completely inseparable from the entire spiritual
understanding through which you are to confront all the issues you face in the
Christian “walk” (II Cor. 5:7). Paul told Timothy, “Fight the
good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (I Tim. 6:12). Faith is more than a battle. It is
a war that all Christians wage throughout their lives! And it is not an easy
war, won by victory in a single battle. It involves many battles. II Cor: 10:4.
Faith experience with Tihar Jail inmates
in mind the vision statement of Jesus, “I have been sent to proclaim release
to the captives” (Lk: 4:18), I have made up my mind to proclaim through the
prison ministry the profound dignity of the human persons who have committed
some crime in a weak moment or by the influence of some others. I have learnt
many bitter truths by my interaction with the inmates especially with the
Christian group. They gave me a deep and profound knowledge of the Scriptures
and they have strengthened my hope in the living God and my faith experience.
does not permit me to describe all my experiences in just a few pages here. Many
a time the faith of the inmates is being sorely tested!
remember the way an inmate answered my simple question: “When will you be out
from here?”, “Sister, In His time….How can a pot or the clay ask the
potter…(Rom: 9: 20-21). Coming to prison is not a curse for me. I consider it
a blessing in a way though I want to go home soon. Here I get time to reflect
about my life; I spend time in contemplation. He has a plan for me in everything
(Jer: 29:11). God disciplines those whom he loves. (Heb: 12: 5-11)”.
God makes a promise, He keeps it. He is faithful. Human beings may break their
promises, but God does not. If He tells you that He will do something for you,
He will fulfill His promise. We have faith as an assurance that He will. So,
browbeating yourself into faith is silly. It suggests that you doubt God will do
His part after you have done yours. Faith is relaxed. It is calm. It is sure.
Where most people might have great doubts, the person led by faith is confident
that God is guiding the final outcome. I have learned two things about answered
First, God always answers our prayers, if I seek His Will, but second, He almost never answers them in the way that we expect. Prayer is not changing the mind of God but understanding the mind of God. When things go my way, I have faith in God. But when things go God’s way, He has faith in me. Besides, it is far more important that God answers our prayers and fulfills His promises, than HOW He does it! And He always knows the best time and way to do it anyway. It doesn’t matter what His answer is if I try to seek God’s will always.
the waves were sweeping the boat, the disciples of Jesus woke Him up and cried
out, “Lord, save us, we are lost” (Matt.
8:25). The disciples actually thought that they were about to die.
They lacked even basic human confidence that, with Christ in the boat, this
could not happen. Christ’s response is instructive for all alive today. He
asked two separate questions—with one found in each gospel account. Let’s
connect them. In Matthew, Christ asked the disciples, “Why are you fearful, O
you of little faith?” (8:26).
In Luke’s account Christ was a little more blunt with His disciples when He
asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Lk 8:25). Of course, the disciples were not
converted at this point. Lacking the Holy Spirit, they were not able to develop
real godly faith. Apparently, however, they did not even have any temporary
human faith at the time. However,
Christ’s towering questions remain for all of us—Why are you fearful?—and
where is your faith?
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has
often been called the “faith” chapter of the Bible because it centers on faith. It
describes many of God’s greatest servants and how their faith enabled them to
perform great acts and miracles, or to endure severe trials. This long chapter
is very inspiring, and all who want to have real faith should periodically read
it. It contains the word faith
two dozen times.
read in Hebrews 11:6, “Without
faith it is impossible to please God.” How can we get it? God
wants us to learn to rely on Him—to trust Him completely in everything! We
really do not have a choice if we want to please Him. Like any human father, God
does not want us to fret, worry and agonize over our needs. In numerous places
throughout His Word, He promises to provide for us in all circumstances. He will
always take care of us. Let us not doubt! Let us believe Him! Trust Him! Wait on
Him! Expect Him to keep all His promises—and He will! Draw closer to God. Get
to know God. Surrender all the way to Him, and do His will. And then pray. You
get to know Him in prayer. We are too close to the material things. Through
prayer, much more prayer, you can come closer to God and the spiritual things. And
what a happy, joyous experience it is, once you have really done it!
One of the most over-arching promises in the Bible is this
one, found in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose." God does not promise us riches in this life; God does not promise
us perfect health; God does not promise that our life will be trouble-free. But
God does promise that He will work all things out so that they will be for our
good, if we are among those who love Him and are called by Him.
Now notice what the father of a demon-possessed boy did. (Mk:
). He brought the boy to Jesus so that he could cast out
the demon. Yes, said Jesus, everything is possible for the person who has faith.
And the father of the child at once cried out, and said with tears, “Lord, I
do have faith, but not enough; help me in my unbelief.” Notice that he had
enough faith to bring the boy to Jesus. And he had enough faith to ask for more
faith. And if we want more, we have to ask for it. Ask God to give you more faith, and He will.
Sr. Inigo, SSA