When faith seems inadequate, know that God provides what we need

| Father Charles Lachowitzer | October 13, 2016

Sometimes a line from a Sunday Gospel will stay in my mind for weeks on end. I preach to myself first, and I continue to reflect on one of the most well-known requests from the apostles to Jesus. On the first Sunday in October, we heard proclaimed from the Gospel of St. Luke, “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (Luke 17:5).

Throughout my life and my priesthood, variations of this request echo in response to the challenges of living out my faith. I have said it myself and have heard so many others say, “If only I had more faith!”

When Jesus told his disciples that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could uproot a tree and plant it in the sea, it only made my faith seem smaller. I can’t even get rid of buckthorn. Nonetheless, faith is a gift from God.

From the moment of our conception, we are given the capacity to know and love God. Hardwired in our brains are not only the “primal appetites” — the desires that lead us to the seven deadly sins — but also the “spiritual appetites” — the desires that lead us to the seven virtues.

We can and should confront the evils in our world. We can and should confront the sin in our own lives. Yet, it can be like the game whack-a-mole when we keep pounding one sin on the head while another pops up elsewhere. We can focus so much on what’s wrong that we miss what’s right.

There is only so much time in a day and only a finite number of days. The more time we spend discovering what is right and what it takes to live a virtuous life, the less time we have to let the power of sin convince us that we live in a bad world filled with bad people.

It is still a good world, and we are still good people. The blessings of God are indeed in and through all things. Good still triumphs over evil. Light still banishes the darkness. And the tragedy of every Good Friday is transformed by the cross of Jesus Christ into the joy of Easter.

It is good to remind ourselves that God has given us all the faith we need. In Jesus Christ, God has given us all the love we need. And through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we have all the hope we need. We are given the grace of the sacramental life of the Church to pursue lives of faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God understands that many of us think that if something is good, then more of it is better. So, increase our faith? Whenever I think I need more faith, I pause and thank God for the faith I already have, and I pray for the grace to strengthen my belief.

I pray that with faith, hope and love, I may have the virtue of fortitude to see what is best in our world and bring out the best in others. I pray that I may have the virtue of temperance that is foundational to mercy and compassion. I pray that I may have the virtue of justice that is necessary to speak up for and reach out to those without a voice and who are most in need. I pray for the virtue of prudence to know the will of God in each chapter of my life and, united with Jesus Christ and his Church, live out the Gospel with ever increasing joy.

In a world that seems deaf to the cries of the poor, blind to God and silent in the face of so many injustices, we pray that God’s gifts of faith, hope and love may be awakened anew. May we increase our trust in God so that we believe that in Jesus Christ, love is more powerful than hatred, mercy greater than any sin and the precious gift of life greater than the power of death itself.

Faith is an act of God. Belief is our response.

Cuando la fe parece insuficiente, recuerda que Dios provee lo que necesitamos

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Category: Only Jesus

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