FAITHFUL UNTIL THE END!
Faith is a theological virtue freely
given in the moment of Baptism. Faith is believing in God even though you do
not see Him. Faith must be defended, cultivated and shared with others if faith
is to persevere in our lives.
Do you still have faith? Jesus said:
“When the Son of man comes many will lose faith and charity will grow
cold in many hearts.” If you still do
have faith be exceedingly thankful for this precious and gratuitous gift. Maybe it would be a good spiritual exercise
to simply wind back the clock and see many that maybe when you were younger
practiced the faith with you—maybe many of your relatives. Now, for some
reason, many of these do not have faith, but you do!
Why is this the case that you might
be among the paltry few that have faith; whereas, the huge majority have lost
faith? Is it because there is something
innately good about you and me, or due to our keen intelligence, our wit and
charm or maybe due to our good looks that we have faith and others do not? Just
why? Indeed this is a mystery of God’s
Before tooting our horn or patting
ourselves on the back we should be keenly aware of the hard truth that any of
us who at present have faith in God, in the Lord Jesus, and in the Church, that
we could also be among those who in the future could lose our faith? What then should we do so as to maintain our
faith, sustain or faith, grow in our faith and if you like be faithful till the
end? What might be the course that we can
undertake to be faithful to the end? Remember that the race is not over until
the finish line has been crossed!
The following suggestions can help us
to guard that precious gem that was given to many of us—faith in God, faith in
Jesus the Lord, faith in His mystical Body that we call the Church.
A DYNAMIC, VIBRANT AND GROWNG PRAYER
LIFE. The late Father John Hardon, S.J.
made this observation: “Those who lost their faith often were those who abandoned
the practice of prayer.” This stands to
reason! Why? For this simple reason: to
pray is an act of faith. When we pray we
do not see the God to whom we are addressing our words. Our God is a mysterious
and a hidden God; our God is invisible to the physical eyes that perceive all
the physical reality that bombards the senses.
For this reason Jesus gently rebuked Thomas the doubter: “Thomas you believe because you see. Blessed
are those who believe without seeing.” May the doubt of Saint Thomas the
Apostle strengthen our weak and faltering faith! Every day of our life we should strive to
pray a little bit more and better. This indeed will be a safeguard for us to
avoid losing our faith.
BEGGARS BEFORE THE LORD. Why not pray this short but powerful prayer: “Lord I believe but strengthen my belief.” Jesus told us: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door
will be opened.”(Mt. 7:7) We should
never be afraid to become a beggar before the Lord and implore Him to give us a
robust and dynamic faith!
STUDY. Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once
commented that very few people have ever left the faith for what the Church
really teaches but rather for what they think the Church teaches. In other
words, many leave the Church and lose their faith for erroneous concepts of
what the Church teaches. In other words, due to an all-pervasive ignorance and
lack of knowledge of the divine, and a poor catechesis many abandon the
practice of the faith. If you want to grow in your faith and avoid losing it
then you must study your faith. One suggestion: read, study and learn the
Catechism of the Catholic Church. Beyond a shadow of a doubt this text is one
of the most important and influential spiritual masterpieces published in the
past fifty years under the guidance and pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II. You cannot fall in love with what you do not
know. Reading, studying and living the Catechism of the Catholic Church can be
a wellspring of knowledge and grace for maintaining a dynamic and flourishing faith.
PRACTICE YOUR FAITH. There is a modern proverb used by many young
people today applicable to this concept: “If
you do not use it than you will lose it.” Musical talents, athletic prowess,
literary expressions, linguistic perfection, culinary skills—all of these
demand a constant effort to keep them up to the mark of approval! Likewise,
with the growth of our faith; we must practice it! Ways that we can practice
our faith are many: a) the habit if personal, common, liturgical prayer—all of
this bolsters faith; b) The sign of the cross. By making the sign of the cross
we are professing in a corporal manner our belief in the greatest mystery of
our Catholic faith—the Blessed Trinity; c) the genuflection—by performing a
reverential and pious genuflection you are manifesting your belief and
adoration for Jesus who is truly present in the most Blessed Sacrament, in His
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity; d) The Most Holy Eucharist in Holy Communion—By
receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, this is the greatest act of faith we can
make by receiving in faith the Real and true Presence of Jesus in Holy
Communion; e) AMEN—By saying the word AMEN we are professing our belief in what
we say, that the Lord Jesus is truly the Bread of Life, the Bread of the angels
that came to give us life and life in abundance.
SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH OTHERS. In the
material realm when we give something to others then we become impoverished. I
give you 20$ then I am 20$ poorer. In the spiritual realm this is not the
case. Rather, if I teach catechism,
preach a homily, preach a mission, explain to somebody how to pray, explain in
detail the ten commandments to somebody who has a poorly formed conscience—in
all of these cases, as the person that receives enrichment from this sharing, I
also am being enriched by sharing my spiritual treasures. One of the greatest
gifts we can give to another is to share our faith; this is one of the highest
forms of charity. Indeed there is more joy in giving that in receiving and this
can be applied to the sharing of the faith.
Therefore, let us humbly thank God for the gift of faith the He has so
generously given to us, but let us defend our faith, cultivate our faith and
share our faith and pray that we will be faithful until the end!