Thoughts on Faith
I am not a Biblical scholar but this year my husband and I decided to dive deeper into the scriptures by listening to one of the top podcasts in the world, 'The Bible in a Year' by Father Mike Schmitz.
Throughout my life I have read or have listened to the Bible in bits and pieces, and have read the children's version of the Bible to my children when they were young. Now, listening to Father Mike in a new light, I am amazed at how much detailed history regarding man's relationship with God has been recorded over the last 4,000 years, and how many miraculous adventures people have experienced.
If we truly believe that God is the mastermind of the Universe and that He not only created the Universe but has manifested into it as the scriptures of the world indicate, than we would trust that there is a Divine plan and that God actually cares deeply about us, and guides us on our journey back to Him.
Of course, our human understanding of God is very limited, and we each have our own version of who God is. The renowned yoga master Paramahansa Yogananda said, "When I feel the gravity of wisdom, I speak of God as the Father. When I feel unbounded, unconditional love I call God Divine Mother. When I feel God as the nearest of the near, supporter and confidant, I call Him Friend. Whichever way one sees God, when we look at the wonders of life, it is hard to deny that God exists."*
This being said, there are those who do deny that God exist and believe that faith is outdated. They tend to believe that we are completely in control of our lives, and that we should only follow what is proven by science. Unfortunately, this belief caries a heavy burden and keeps us from realizing the expansion of life beyond this earthly realm of reality.
Robert Barron says it well in his book, Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture. He writes, " When we are convinced that our fundamental well-being depends on our efforts and the accomplishment of our plans, we lock ourselves into the cramped quarters of the sovereign Self. But when we acknowledge through faith the primacy of grace, we move in the infinite and exciting space of God's intentions for us. As all of the great spiritual masters have acknowledged, our lives are not finally, about us, and in that realization we find peace and joy." *
In looking at my own relationship with God I know that I have never doubted my faith in God. However, it has wavered from being so in tune with God, where I am abundantly grateful and joyful, to being like the atheist who doesn't realize who is ultimately in charge and is dependent totally on one's own efforts.
There are many examples throughout the scriptures of the world encouraging us to have faith in God. Being most familiar with the Judeo-Christian Bible I would like to address a few of my favorite verses that have been written according to what Jesus Christ has taught us, and which has been inspirational in my life.
To truly have faith is to open to the presence of God within us. This Presence helps us to transform our negative habits so that the Holy Spirit can effectively work through us. The beauty of Jesus, according to scripture, is that He showed us how to do this by His life, death and resurrection.
He encouraged His followers to have faith when he said, "Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than the birds?" *
Christ told us that if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains.* When we look at the process of a mustard seed, the mustard seed unfolds from moment to moment until it is a mighty bush. It doesn't worry if it will have enough food and water to grow or if it is as good as the other mustard seeds. The mustard seed simply trusts and follows its Divine purpose.
Evidently though, with humans, God appreciates when we actually communicate our intentions, ask for what we want, and are grateful. Our relationship with God is then strengthened and our faith is increased.
My friend Diana facilitates a group of people who pray for the healing of those in need. She writes to her participants, "I encourage you to see them whole and well, not in their current condition or situation... Whatever you focus on grows, so focusing on the loving light and healing mercy of God is our goal." Diana quotes Jesus who said, "So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." *
I can remember as a child being fascinated by a beautiful picture that hung on the wall of my Grandfather's house. The picture was of Jesus knocking on a door that had no doorknob. My Grandfather explained to me that God loves us and is there for us, but we need to open the door from the inside. In other words, by the grace of God, we need to open our hearts and prepare ourselves to receive God through prayer, contemplation, meditation and by changing habits that are detrimental to us.
By asking and believing that God has our best interest in mind, we can accept that whatever happens is meant to be. Sometimes God says no! We don't see the bigger picture so we don't know if what we are asking for is right for us or not.
When we don't get what we desire it isn't that God doesn't hear us or doesn't care. It could be a variety of other reasons. There is a quote from an unknown author that goes like this, 'It's funny because we ask God to change our situation not knowing he put us in the situation to change us!' We don't know what the reasons are we just need to trust.
Needless to say, when asking, our attitude is important and so is our intention. Aligning our will to God's will takes our efforts and transforms them making the ordinary extraordinary.
Jesus performed many miracles but he told us that we too can perform miracles as long as we have faith in Him. Jesus told us, '"..The words I say are not my own but are from my Father who lives in me. And He does his work through me. ...Anyone believing in me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father. Yes, ask anything, using my name, and I will do it!" *
What amazes me in reading the lives of the saints is that so many of them truly listened and took His words to heart. They were so in tune with Christ that through that Divine intimacy they were able to perform miracles.
Saints like Francis of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, Teresa of Avila, Jude Thaddeus, and Padre Pio of Pietrelcina* were able to see the souls of individuals, talk to the animals, heal the sick, and perform so many other miracles. They truly believed that God worked through them.
When we are willing to do the work, and trust that God has our best interest in mind, life changes radically. If it doesn't turn out the way we think it should, it doesn't mean that it didn't turn out exactly the way it was supposed to.
Love and Peace,
*The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
*Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture by Robert Barron
*John 14: 10,12,14
*Padre Pio: The Mystic Blog -3/12/2020
*Picture: Baptism of my granddaughter Harmony
Mary Mohs LVN, MA, RYT,