Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Your faith has saved you"

Since January I've decided to commit in a deeper way to studying and reading Scripture more frequently and thoroughly. I've started by reading through the Gospel of Matthew very slowly. I've used a few different resources to supplement my reading. One is an app on my phone; iPieta. It is an absolute must have for any Catholic with a droid, iphone, tablet, or ipad, it is amazing what you can find on there!! Specifically I have been using a few items under the section "Bible Commentaries" on the app: the Haydock Bible Commentary and the Catena Aurea. This has really allowed me to dig into Scripture and have a better understanding of what is said and what is happening.

I've been amazed at the ministry of Jesus as I've been reading, especially the times Jesus heals people. One thing that really caught my attention while I've been reading is what He says to them after they have been healed; "Go; be it done for you as  you have believed." (Mt 8:13)... "take heart daughter; your faith has made you well." (Mt 9:22)... "According to your faith be it done to you." (Mt. 9:29) ...

I read this and am amazed that just their faith has made them well. What I've read has just been perfect for where I am. We're kind of at an in between point of the semester. The excitement on campus from our students following a National Conference in Florida which 6,000 people attended has worn off in many ways, we begin spring break at the end of the coming week, and there are just over 2 months left of the semester. Lately, I've found that I feel like my faith is being put to the test a bit. Not that I'm doubting anything, just that I feel like I really have to persevere. Which is one of several reasons why I am so glad I've been reading the Bible.

After reading these miracles I found myself thinking about my own faith, not in a comparing type of why, just in a wondering way. It's the same sort of feeling I had while I was in Rome in the fall, where every corner you turned (it seemed) someone had been martyred for the faith. I wondered then and for weeks that followed...would I have that great of faith? To look death in the face and stand up for what I believe knowing that if I did so I would die... I like to think I would, but that takes a lot of faith! I thought the same as I've been reading through Matthew, would I have the courage, strength and faith to approach Jesus and ask Him for something so great? Again, I like to think I would but in the situation I just don't know.

This past Tuesday I went to confession, thank the Lord for this gift! I confessed my sins, the priest gave me some feedback and encouragement, I was given a penance, I stated an act of contrition, and was given absolution - all the key components to receiving grace we don't deserve from God. Before I left the confessional, the priest said, "Go your faith has saved you." I laughed and thought to myself, THANK YOU LORD! It really was a neat moment, a God moment. I returned to the pew and thought how truly blessed I am to not only know and love God, but to accept and seek His love.

Thursday I had another reminder of how small my faith often is when I heard the Gospel proclaimed during Mass from Matthew chapter 7 verses 7-12...

"Jesus said to His disciples: 'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you them, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.'"

May we increase our faith this Lenten season and continue to grow closer to Christ as we pick up our crosses and unite our sufferings with His.

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