Monday, January 19, 2015

Blog # 436 I believe...

Blog # 436   I believe...

          Faith is a gift.  Through faith we know some very important truths that could not be ours if we did not believe them to be true, as for example truths about God the Creator of all that exists,  truths about the divinity of Jesus and the identity of the person of Jesus as the sole Savior of all,
 the identity of Jesus and the Word of God as a single person, and the presence of God within us through the gift of Sanctifying Grace.

           Our faith gives us assurance of eternal life, the reality of Heaven as a response of God to our life here on earth.  However there is a danger our faith may primarily have reference to the future and over truths over which we have little or no control.  I think it is useful from time to time to think what faith does for us and in us right now, in our everyday lives and in our relationships with those who live around us and are members of our families.

            One of the first things we notice when we begin to study the notion of faith in the Bible is that it makes a difference in a person's life. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians ( 2 Cor. 5:7), says that if anyone is joined to Christ by faith, he/she is a new creation. Certainly to say of something  that it is a new creation is to say that it is different than before!  For a person to believe in Christ is to expect to be different.  And St. Paul's words do not imply the future life in Heaven.  Rather he is speaking of the present time, and the difference faith makes in the here and now. In his  letter to the Philippians (2:5), St. Paul tells us we must have the attitude of Jesus. Jesus frequently and clearly identifies Himself as being sent by the Father.

             In one of His prayers Jesus tells the Father that He sent His disciples into the world just as the Father had sent Him, to do always and everywhere the Father's will.(Jn. 17:18). We are to be recognized as disciples of Jesus by our love for one another.(Jn.13: 35).  The joy of Jesus is to be ours. (Jn. 15: 11).  We are to love one another as Jesus loved us.{Jn.15: 12,17; 13: 34). We are confident in the reliability and infallibility of the message Jesus gave the Church(Jn.17: 8) to hand down from one generation to another, which includes our confidence in the forgiveness of sins and in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  We are to find in the example of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples the way we are to serve one another. (Jn.13: 13: 14,15). We are to pray in times of trial and confidently always in Jesus' name  (Lk. 22:40 ff. )  We are to trust always in God's love. (Lk. 12: 22 ff.).

               Joy, confidence, obedience to the Father's will, love, trust, prayer, awareness of God's presence in us as well as around us , are all characteristics  of a faithful person.  They are integral parts of the virtue of our faith in Jesus itself.  I see them also as foreshadows of the rewards the Father is keeping for all of us who have  received and lived out the mystery of  His love for us in faith.
              A person who through no fault of his or her own does not have faith is judged by his or her conscience at the time of  his or her death. A person who has faith is judged by a conscience that is formed by faith.

               May your faith and mine cause us to think, and speak, and act like Jesus.  What a difference!  It is a difference for ourselves and for those around us.    


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