Mission Society of the Philippines



Mt 14:22-33 NOT TOO LONG AGO, there have been books written by the so-called neo-atheists which attempt to discredit established religions, including the Christian religion. This phenomenon suggests that modern atheism is on the rise in our day. But we can understand them because they may have an obscure knowledge of the God whom we believe. However, I think our concern is more on the members of the Church who have not lost totally their faith in God, but have diminished their faith in God. They may be compared to Peter who was reprimanded by Jesus for his ?lack of faith.? Perhaps, it is good to recall our learning in faith so that we could have a better view on how to develop this faith and become eventually mature in our faith. First of all, faith is in the mind. Faith is related to knowledge, i.e., knowledge about God, knowledge about the gospel. When the priest says, ?Let us profess our faith!?, we immediately say, ?I believe in God??.? That becomes automatic. It is in the mind. St Paul emphasizes this by saying that the knowledge of faith should grow to greater adequacy. When we were born, we did not receive this faith in its totality. We learn gradually. While we grow in age, we should also grow in the in the knowledge of Him. But in truth, there are believers who are satisfied with the knowledge they received when they were kids. For them, the basic catechesis is already sufficient. But this should not be the case. Although God is and remains a mystery, we should explore the depth of this mystery and the other mysteries of our faith as well. The profession of faith that we do in Sunday masses should be complemented with understanding them. Secondly, faith is in the heart. Faith is not only knowing, but also trusting. It is trusting in the words of God and ultimately, in the person of Christ. This is something that Peter lacked. Jesus gave the assuring words to Peter, but unfortunately, Peter did not trust Jesus? words, and he did not trust also in Jesus. However, the experience of Peter was very human. In fact, we can associate ourselves with Peter. There have been moments in our life wherein we doubt God and his goodness. There have been moments in our life that we find lacking faith in Him. Well, we can find people who would say that they have ?sufficient? knowledge of God. But as soon as they experience problems and trials, they easily falter. Consequently, they distance themselves from God and the Church. For these people, there is a need to teach their hearts to trust, even in situation of hopelessness. Thirdly faith is in our works. Faith is not only seen in the mind and in the heart, but also in the way we live. A Latin axiom says, ?lex credendi, lex vivendi? or ?the law of believing is the law of living.? In other words, our life is guided what we believe in. For instance, we believe that God is ultimately good. Then we should trust in his goodness. But that is not enough. We should also show to others the goodness of God through our actions. In the same way, if we believe that God is forgiving, we must trust that He forgives. And then we show to others how forgiving also we are to those who have hurt us. If our faith bears these three dimensions, then we can say that our faith is already a grown or mature one. If not, then, we have to find some means to make it more comprehensive. Some have only the first dimension and theirs is not a grown faith. Some have the first two dimensions, but this is not considered yet a mature faith. The challenge lies on the third dimension because this may be the hardest thing to do. But, if we have the awareness of who we are, of our identity as Christians, I think this would help in guiding ourselves in our our day-to-day life.

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