Last week when reading a meditation by Ruth Burrows in Magnificat, this line caught my attention. She writes,
Faith is not a thing of the mind; it is not an intellectual certainty or a felt conviction. It is a sustained decision to take God with utter seriousness as the God of my life.
I spent a lot of time this week reflecting on this. I was always taught that faith was a gift bestowed by a gracious God whose only desire is for us to love Him and to share in His life. Yes, faith is a gift, but it is a gift I must accept with the same Love in which it was given.
When someone tells me to have faith in God, he or she is telling me to open up my heart to God, to hear and listen intently to His Word, to his commands. But faith goes beyond listening, for we all know that often when we listen it goes in one ear and out the other, Faith demands a response on my part. Faith requires that I say "yes" to God every minute of every day. I have to take my faith seriously.
Many people can say "I believe," but I don't think all believers have true faith. Faith is different than belief. I believe Satan exists, but I hope and pray I would never put my faith in him. Faith involves trust. For me to say, "Jesus, I trust in you," is an act of faith, an act of total abandonment to the Lord. Faith is also not a one shot deal. I must recommit myself to Christ each day. For faith to grow I can not just sit back and wait for it to happen,
Lent is a time when we do the work of faith, when we make that conscious decision to focus on the Lord. We fast, we do acts of penance, we increase our prayer life, and we do acts of charity. Do we do these things as some sort of religious Great Race or Survivor hoping that we complete the difficult tasks that we assign ourselves to win some prize. No! Lent gives us the opportunity to look at our faith life, to take our relationship with God to the next step, and to decide for God in deeper ways. But for this to happen, we need to come before Him with open hearts, with humility, and with trust.
Oh Lord, increase my faith.