Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In Luke 17: 5, the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus says that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could get a mulberry bush to uproot itself and be replanted in the sea. What is this faith? I don't think it is a series of creedal beliefs. Many people believe the Creed of their faith. It is a series of dogmas and principles. But it is a faith that does not move much of anything. It is not very effective in the world.
The faith of which Jesus speaks is the faith of a relationship. It is the faith in God that goes deep into our heart. It comes from an encounter with God, usually in silence, stillness and solitude. This is the faith that will so move us, that we will be able to do quite extraordinary things in this world, imaged by the moving of a bush.
I have met many a person who went to expensive Catholic elementary schools, who received sacraments and memorized the creed, but as soon as their confirmation was done, they were gone from participation in worship services or any active participation in a local parish. They had faith but it was not such that it touched their hearts deeply enough. It was not a relationship with God, one on one. Our dogmas, liturgies, scriptures explain and amplify the experience of God in our lives. But without the experience, the rest cannot hold us. The church can make Christ present in the Eucharist, but the liturgy cannot make us experience that presence. Without that experience you may have faith in real presence, but it will not be such that you hunger for the Eucharist.

1 comment:

  1. Fr. Terry, In returning to the church, it was precisely the encounter with Christ through the Eucharist that was so real and so surprising to me. I began going to mass regularly, hungry for the Eucharist, and I feel a bit empty on days when I am not able to receive and take part. My faith is strong, but I sometimes wonder why others have such a disconnect; they obviously have not experienced what I have. Why?