The Sacred Scripture records stories of faith – genuine faith from Abraham down to the Apostles, and extends to the time of the martyrs and saints until the present. Faith in the living God was for them their source of hope, strength, courage and even fortune. Not believing therefore in a living God would be a disgrace and a cause for the downfall of a Kingdom or tribe, for whoever believes in the living God shall be saved.
Do you think there is a faithless generation? I strongly believe there is none; instead they have created their own gods: their fame, power, money, ideology, etc. We could also ask what brought humanity to an evil end – to lose faith or to have no faith at all? I should say that in the bivouac of life let us not be like driven cattle but heroes in the strife, ie let us anchor ourselves to the little faith that we have. Yes, little it may seem but if we hold onto it great will be its effect. I remember that Jesus said to the apostles: “Oh ye of little faith” but the apostle Peter held on to his faith so dearly that it brought him to where he was.
What is faith? “Faith in Hebrew, this word has the same root as the verb to lean on and firm. In Greek, the word that served to express faith meant both the trust one could have in a debtor and the pledge engaged. Hebrew 11:1 gives us a dynamic definition of faith as holding on to what we hope for.” (Christian Community Bible)
At the untimely death of my father I had exclaimed, “Oh, how little my faith is” (for I wanted him to be cured from his illness and it did not happen). But I did not waver, I held on to it and I glorified God because that little faith made my father cry out to God in his last days on his death bed. Should I say it is too late, or not? It was instead for me at the opportune time, the right time, and the appropriate time for it was such a sincere cry that the Heavenly Father listened and took him home. These thoughts bring me to the experience of Mother Nazarena. Her faith was remarkable and looking back at the events of her life, her unwavering faith made her stand through the test of time, through the trials of life. She remained firm and steadfast.
“Mother Nazarena taught us to discover in our neighbor, in the person next to us especially the poor the face of Jesus Christ. We should give not only the material bread, but the love, hope and faith.” (Booklet no. 45) And I ask myself how? I need to exercise the heroic theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, as Mother Nazarena had done, as well as St Annibale (and other saints) especially towards God and neighbour, for “it is for us a viaticum towards a sure journey of sanctity” (JPII, Dec. 20 2003), to which all of us by virtue of baptism are called to traverse through. This may seem the wildest of all ambitions but with God’s grace…
Oh what faith animated Mother Nazarena? Faith permeated her entire life, her thoughts, her projects and all her actions. She had her way of looking at every circumstance in life in the realm of faith. It was the spirit of wisdom and intellect that illumined her being for she was not educated in any theological schools in her time neither was she a woman of books, instead her life was an open book where we can now read the writings of God. Her faith was her measure in her actions, her being and when relating to others. For her, all her deeds were carried out as if being done in the presence of God – before a God who is so interested in her, a passionate God who walks with her in love and tenderness.
I am not ashamed to say how little my faith is and in some circumstances in life I have felt that I do not have it, especially in seemingly hard situations. I do call on God but it is only lip service when the heart is not in it. Re-reading stories of faith compels me to relive the faith that I have once professed and with God’s abundant grace and faithfulness, I may yet be a ‘woman of faith’.
Your faith is where, for and to whom and what do you believe in? I do believe that my faith in a living and Most loving God and your faith brings conversion – personally and more so to the many souls that wander in a world of power, money, pride, etc. Let your faith, my faith, and our faith shine.
Sr M Alma Dazo fdz