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, 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: “It is good we are here. Let’s make three booths; one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 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, 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 will knock 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 too. The miraculous is simply a sign. Jesus would challenge the disciples and us to pay attention to the most important part of the spiritual journey – the cross of the Son of Man, a necessary path of the enduring triumph.
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 the 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) would call it.
Are you ready for the real, solid food of Christian maturity, of Christian joy? Embrace the reality of the cross and allow that reality to lift you from doubts to the level that nothing would ever shake your faith.
The best way to describe this kind of mature faith is not seeing, feeling nor sensing God, but still holding onto God. Against all hopes, you are assured that God lives. Your faith is unwavering. Your confidence is set, set on a solid foundation. This is my prayer for you and your loved ones. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.