Faith Grows on You

For everyone, there is a time in life when we don't believe in God. Belief grows on us. It does not often begin with a clarity of perception and immediate resolve to believe everything God says. Even for those baptized as children, one needs to grow into the faith you received. It begins slowly, in fumbling darkness and half-remembered dreams. Then, at the voice of God calling it out of darkness, our soul begins the slow crawl out of apathy, toward the light. Often, that upward climb is not entirely voluntary – C.S. Lewis said that he became a Christian “kicking and screaming.” God pushes us toward that light, but once we've seen that light, there's really no going back. That little glimmer of light shows us that everything we thought was important really isn't. Only God truly is.

The royal official in the Gospel today came to Jesus with only the meekest glimmering of faith. He had seen that little glimmer of hope for his sick son, probably desperate to find any cure possible. This official is a contrast to the centurion in the Gospel of Sts. Matthew and Luke, who believed immediately; the royal official didn't come to Jesus with belief, but with fear or curiosity. When he finally came to Jesus, Jesus initially sounded like He was rebuking the royal official – you will not believe unless you see signs and wonders! However, the little glimmer of faith in that man's heart was enough to prompt Jesus to bring about an increase. Jesus' compassion and His answer to the official - “You may go; your son will live” - planted the first seeds of belief in the official, as he now believed Jesus “words.” But only Jesus' words! Only after the miracle was done, he and his whole household “came to believe.” The royal official's little seed of faith was enough; he asked and received faith from Jesus. He initially could only crawl, but now he ran. His faith grew from a small spark into a roaring fire.

Have I grown in faith and love this Lent? Is my faith weak? Am I faithful in my prayer? Am I slow in responding to what God wants for me? Beginning in the words of the psalm, ask Jesus: “Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me; O LORD, be my helper” in my unbelief. Create in my heart the abode of faith, so that you may rejoice and exult in me; make me quick to do your will. Strengthen me in faith so that when the heavenly Jerusalem descends from You my heart may be prepared to be built as a living stone into its walls. Then I will share in that heavenly Jerusalem where you will be All in All, and sadness and sorrow will have passed away. Amen.