Increase our Faith
A person cannot be called faithful until his or her faith is
tested and the test is passed. Many of us have had moments of deep despair,
moments when our world seems to be coming apart. These moments come from a variety of human experiences: being
fired from a job, severe financial crisis, making a humiliating mistake, the
abandonment of a close friend, divorce, the knowledge that a loved one – or
even ourselves has a serious illness or
the death of a loved one. These crisis
and others, all of them painful and
potentially life changing can drive us
into a pit of despair and often we fear
we shall never survive the pain.
Most people no longer active in their faith point to moments
in their lives in which they felt utterly abandoned themselves. They doubted God’s concern, if not His very
existence and gave in to despair and subsequent cynicism, leaving the faith.
For those of us who have suffered these terrible moments,
St. Paul stands before us patron and
example. Paul wrote to Timothy from
prison knowing that he, Paul, was to be executed very soon. Paul had been
imprisoned once before, house arrest
actually, but the first time, believers
sought Paul out and never left him alone in his confinement. Paul’s current imprisonment is different
In July A.D. 64, during the
reign of Nero, half of Rome was
destroyed by fire. The populace, believing
that Nero probably set the fire himself
was furious and pointing fingers, so Nero tried to blame the fire on the
Jews of Rome. No one believed the Jews would do such a thing, so Nero blamed
the strange and not well understood Christians. Persecution thus began. In this environment Paul was arrested, thrown
in a dungeon and chained. Christians,
fearing for their lives abandoned Paul and fled.
Today we are being challenged to stay faithful even when
events force us to doubt God, doubt
God’s concern and perhaps doubt God’s very existence. Our cry could also be
like that of the Apostles found in the Gospel, “increase our faith”.
We too, may find being a Christian impossible at times.
can be very painful. Sometimes the pain
is from the despair of human suffering.
Sometimes the despair is from the
demands of Jesus to “be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect.”
Do not give in to despair.
We must see ourselves as servants, who do their duty believing in God
and keeping to His ways, leaving despair behind.
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