Grace to you!
What fascinates you the most about faith-life? Signs and wonders, the experience of the miraculous? Is it the sense of a community and relationships, fellowship, or the so-called socialization forum? Is it the reality of being a member of God's family, or of worship and love of God? Or is it something else? What takes prime place in your faith life?
Anna (not her real name) was fascinated by the miraculous. For her, the true test of a dynamic church is where signs and wonders are frequent. She would hardly connect with the faith if there were no testimonies of God’s miracles. So, her faith has been on the pendulum, swinging from faith to unbelief and anything in-between.
Many are like Anna, or should I say, like Peter, who said to Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration: “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Mt 17:4). The dazzling sight of the miraculous overwhelmed him. Miracles are wonderful, aren’t they?
It’s not just for Peter. The disciples of Jesus, on many occasions, would want to remain at the level of the miraculous. Scripture describes their mood after the series of miracles Jesus performed in the Gospel of Luke 9. The report of their astonishment and Jesus’ retooling of it is interesting: “While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men’” (Luke 9:43-44).
It's in our nature as humans to settle on the sofa of comfort. We want to remain in a cozy plane of beatitudes and forget the real world, where not all is a bed of roses. If your religious experience is only about the feelings of spiritual or emotional consolation, watch it. It won't be long before the solid food of spiritual maturity knocks at the door. You don't want to be caught unawares.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would always remind the disciples not to dwell on the miraculous. He also reminds you and me. The miraculous is simply a sign. When it comes, we thank God. We relish it. But then, we are ready to walk through the rocky paths too. The Blessed Lord would challenge the disciples and us to pay attention to the most important part of the spiritual journey—the Son of Man's cross, a necessary path of the enduring triumph (see Lk 9:22).
I understand many people wouldn’t want the crucifixion to be a crucial aspect of the Christian story. You may have heard or read their persuasive and sweet tongues. Be sure you are not upholding their belief. It’s simply not real.
Sometimes, if not many times in spiritual life, we have to deal with the food of pain. I have not known any saint whose spiritual life didn't graduate from the spiritual milk to solid food, as The Letter to the Hebrews (5:13-14) describes it. I have never met any faithful believer who isn’t schooled in the paradox of the cross.
Are you ready for the real, solid food of Christian maturity and of Christian joy? Embrace the reality of the cross. Allow that reality to lift you from doubts, to the level that nothing would shatter your faith. Mature faith is secured faith.
An example of how you know you have this kind of mature faith is this. It is when you neither see, feel nor sense the God you believe and still hold onto Him. Against all hopes, you are assured that God lives. Your faith is unwavering, despite your dark night experiences. You believe not because of what God does for you but for who God is. Your confidence is set, set on a solid foundation.
This is my prayer for you and your loved ones—be strong in faith. Let nothing you pass through at this moment take away the joy of the Lord in your life. Remain faithful. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[Saturday Week 25: Zec 2:5-9, 14-15; Lk 9:43-45]
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Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.