27 May, Thursday — Meaning of Faith

May 27 – Memorial for St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop

St. Augustine (d. 605) was a monk and abbot of St. Andrew’s abbey in Rome. He was sent by Pope Gregory the Great with 40 brother monks, including St. Lawrence of Canterbury, to evangelize the British Isles in 597. Before he reached the islands, terrifying tales of the Celts sent him back to Rome in fear, but Gregory told him he had no choice, so he went. He established and spread the faith throughout England; one of his earliest converts was King AEthelberht, who brought 10,000 of his people into the Church.

He was ordained a bishop in Gaul (modern France) by the Archbishop of Arles. He became Bishop of Canterbury, and was the first Archbishop of Canterbury. He helped re-establish contact between the Celtic and Latin churches, though he could not establish his desired uniformity of liturgy and practices between them. He worked with St. Justus of Canterbury. The Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury are still referred to as occupying the Chair of Augustine.

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Ecc 42:15-26
Mk 10:46-52

“Go; your faith has saved you.”

I have been pondering the question of faith and found this quote from the scriptures.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.”        (Hebrews 11:1-3)

The above verses have really made me think hard about my own faith. I used to say, “I have faith”, as if faith is a quality that I cultivated, that it was my own doing. That is, I was taking credit because it was I who chose to have ‘faith’ in God.

The more common understanding of faith is to have trust in someone or something. I thought I had trust in God. I thought I had faith in every sense of the word. Little did I understand, little did I know.

Faith is a gift, a grace given by God to us. For we do not have the mental faculties to accept things that are invisible unless there is a guiding force. Don’t get upset; I am not saying that we, as humans are lacking in intelligence. On the contrary, we humans think we are quite intelligent and believe in what we observe (as in the science of things). Unless we see it, hear it, feel it and taste it, we often decline to believe. The ability to believe without seeing, hearing, or feeling, yet somehow realizing what is not seen, nor heard, nor felt, is the truth; that is God’s grace. A skeptic will not believe in anything until he is satisfied with the evidence of things. But a skeptic who has been shown a glimpse of what he hasn’t completely grasped, begins to waver and starts thinking about the possibilities. We are such skeptics and God has shown us glimpses of eternal life through Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Mother Mary, all the angels and saints. I still haven’t fully grasped the mystery of faith and am still in the process of learning.   

The other aspect of faith is the trust part. I thought I trusted God, but I find myself trying to take control of things that I really have little or no control over, particularly things that I really want. I get anxious and stressed over the most insignificant thing (although they seem pretty big to me at the time). I am like a back seat driver. On the one hand telling God to take the wheel as I want to do His will, but on the other hand, sneakily doing things and trying to make them go my way. Hardly trusting, is it?

In today’s Gospel, it is not a coincidence that Jesus encountered Bartimaeus. Remember, we didn’t choose God. He chose us. Just like Jesus called Bartimaeus to Him, He is calling us to give us the grace we so need.

How I wish I was more like Bartimaeus — he believed unwaveringly, despite all the people scolding him; he trusted completely that Jesus could heal him. He had faith, and faith saved him.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we pray that you grant us the gift of faith. Help us to have unwavering trust in Your mercy, Your goodness and Your love. 

Thanksgiving: Dearest Lord, we thank you sending us the Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith.  It is with the saving grace of faith that we are saved.

One thought on “27 May, Thursday — Meaning of Faith

Add yours

  1. Winnie – I reflected on faith & trust last week as well, and I especially appreciate your example of the backseat driver! Clearly puts it into perspective. thank you!

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