Grace to you!
For those who knew her, Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN and three religious orders, is a woman remarkable in many ways. From nothing, she built an entire global media network for evangelization, a project which many with more positional authority and financial resources tried and did not succeed.
One key charism that stands out among others in all her endeavors was faith. It wasn’t only about the theological virtue of faith that makes us believe, without doubt, in God and his ways, or the firm belief that God is our Lord. It is equally the confident trust in the Providence of God and a personal, constant trust in God as our ultimate resource. She had this kind of faith, and it moved mountains for her.
From the mom who believes and sees God in little things to the pastor who trusts God, it does not take too much faith in terms of numbers for God to do miracles. It takes genuine faith, confident trust in Providence, for God to move mountains. I have seen it in my ministry too.
I look back, and I see that many of the things that seemed unrealistic have come to pass if one were to trust in the Providence of God. The good thing about faith is that it is subtle and simple yet more powerful than most could imagine.
God is not asking us the volume of our faith as if it is a matter of mathematical aggregate of number and layers. God is asking for the simple faith that is utterly genuine. Such can bring about life from the little things, a way where there seems to be no way, and a shrub such as the germination of the mustard seed. What it could do outweighs far more than the size. The gap between faith and its impact is comparable to the mustard seed to the mountain, as the Lord demonstrates (see Mt 17:14-20).
Have you seen the pulley? It is comparably small, but with a little pressure, it can lift fifty tons of weight with ease. Such is genuine faith, the confidence in divine promises.
We read how the Lord told the apostles that to do such a miracle as he did, they needed that simple faith comparable to the size of a mustard seed. It was a way of encouraging us to trust him and have total confidence in God's power to do what he wants to do. You do not need to be a graduate of theology or a spiritual master to have such faith. It is granted to the simple soul and a simple heart.
You see, miracles happen when we trust God. It is not by the force of our power but by the power of his will.
When problems come our way, they tend to become louder than anything else. They seem like a mountain. They weigh us down, or rather we seem dwarfed by their intimidating posture. They influence us to change our perspectives. Sometimes, they become a tormenting experience depriving us of the hope that lies ahead.
There are several ways we may respond. One could be to give up and not fight. This approach would not be the best of options, and the problems take over and win. Another option could be to allow it to determine who we are, and all we will ever be. Such leaves us in a pitiable situation, and we lack the luster to change the narrative to a more winning side.
Another option is to project it unto the circumstances and situations that led us to those. Before long, we will see everything in the light of the problem, and every little event that led to it will become its cause. We are quick to jump from co-relation to causality. We begin to expand the frontiers of our enemies. Before we know it, we see everyone and everything around us as conspiring against us, and our enemy. Persecution syndrome will take the better of us and deprive us of inner joy and even positive energy needed to live a joyful and purposeful life. A situation of this kind leaves us more depressed. It rips us of the will and the faith to fight and win.
There is yet another option, which in my opinion, is more redeeming. It is to look at Jesus and keep our gaze focused on the Lord, knowing he will see us through if we walk with him. You don't need to focus more on the problem. Instead, focus more on the source from whom solutions to the problem come. To do so, you need the simple faith of a child.
Anyone who expends their perception in a romance with the storms of life ends with despair. The one who, rather, fixes the eye of faith with a gaze unto the Lord, embraces the victory that puts the storm beneath our feat. We don’t want to sink in the storm. We want to link with the Lord upon whose words and promises we walk above the stormy waters.
The Gospel of Matthew 14:22-36, which we saw in a previous reflection of Tuesday, leaves us some great lessons. It was a stormy night. The apostles and disciples of the Lord are in the middle of a turbulent lake. Fear and anxiety gripped them, just like these grip us from time to time. Then they saw the Lord walk towards them. The sight heightened their fear because, at the time, they didn't know it was the Lord.
The Lord intervenes and says to them, "Be not afraid." Such a word is needed today, as it seems many are drowning in the storms of the COVID-19 mayhem. Some are also pained at the social struggles not seen in decades. Be not afraid.
Peter would ask to walk on water as the Lord does if it is indeed the Lord. He was simply asking to walk by faith, not by sight. As the Lord obliges him and his gaze is on the Lord, he is well and strong and progresses. Such is the way of victory. Keep that gaze on the Lord. Keep that simple faith. Never look down or anywhere else. Never allow the current situations to be the entire narrative. There is much more than what the physical eyes can see. Faith, a gaze on the Lord, opens the vista to the unseen.
The psalmist would capture the sentiments of one who is sort of helmed in battles such as King David. I look up and ask: "from whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps 121:1-2).
Such is the testimony of one who looks up in faith to the Lord, who is above our problems.
I pray for the grace to fix our gaze on the Lord in dark moments of our lives. I pray for confident trust in the Lord who saves. I pray for the simple faith that trusts in the unshakable Providence of God. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
[Saturday Week 18: Habakkuk 1:12-2:4; Matthew 17:14-20]
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.