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INTRODUCTION: "Keys for Living God's Will" by the respected religious Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. is a regular feature of each issue. Fr. Hampsch continues with excerpts from his book, co-authored by Clint Kelly, entitled "Faith: Key to the Heart of God" in which we see Fr. John's teachings put into succinct stories that all can relate to and which will unlock the door to understanding how faith can come alive in our own daily experience. Father has made available, through God's Living Word, how to capture Heaven's fire in our soul and how to blaze a victory trail both here on earth and in Heaven. Fr. John illustrates how Jesus exudes faith in and for us and only by loving Him unconditionally can we truly demonstrate our love for Him through nurturing our faith as he illustrates in his thirty-sixth installment: Vertical Growth: Our Cooperation. Fr. John's column along with columns by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto and Father Stephen Valenta, O.F.M. Conv. promise simple, but effective and vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. We invite you to visit his website at http://members.aol.com/HampschCTM/ctm/home.html or you can reach him at HampschCTM@aol.com or John Hampsch@WebTV.com by e-mail.
Key to the Heart of God
Thirty-Sixth Installment: Vertical Growth:Our Cooperation part four

      It's important to remember that we can pray for faith as the apostles did (Luke 17:5): "Lord, increase our faith." After all, "The Lord is the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). He’s the source and the end, the alpha and omega (Revelations 1:11). We turn to Him knowing that the Lord wants us to have faith and that He will generously give it to us as He supplies all our needs (cf. Acts 14:17). We should pray to be lifted up to that next level of faith, while asking also that any gaps in our faith be filled up. The "Lord-I-know-you-can" prayer of faith then becomes a "Lord-I-know-you-will prayer.

      Then be willing to act in faith. Good works affirm and authenticate our faith (James 2:17). Neglect of good works is ultimately neglect of Christ ("{If you neglect to do it unto one of the least of these my brethern, you neglect to do it unto me." Matthew 15:45). James says faith without good works is dead (James 2:17). It takes a tremendous act of faith to see and relate to Christ in your fellow man. If you look at a skid row derelict merely as a repulsive person, your faith is retarded. To see instead the precious dignity and nobility of that skid row derelict created in the image of God and destined for heaven—something incredibly awesome—requires faith in large measure. To act towards that person, using that "insight", requires even greater faith.

      You can’t practice charity if you don’t have faith. Only the eyes of faith allow you to see the Christ presence in a wino—or even to see the Christ presence in someone you live with who gets on your nerves. It takes deep faith to look beyond the shadow to this substance, and see a precious soul redeemed by Christ. You can’t act on faith without first having faith. That is, you can’t perform good works if you don’t first have faith to activate the charity. Faith is the basic virtue in life’s struggles, for I John 5:4 says, "Our victory over the world is through our faith." Peter speaks about this whole idea of active, operational faith enhanced by its "additions"" "To obtain these gifts, you need more than faith, you must also work hard to be good, you must learn to know God better, discover what He wants you to do (God’s will). You must learn to put aside your own desires so you become patient and godly, gladly letting God have His way with you (holy abandonment). That will make the next step possible which is freedom to enjoy other people and to like them and finally grow to love them dearly. The more you go on this way the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who fails to go after these additions is blind indeed, or at least very shortsighted, and has forgotten that God delivered him from the old life of sin. But now we can live a strong, good new life for the Lord" (II Peter 1:3-9). Faith has to be implemented, Peter seems to be saying.

Next Installment: Vertical Growth:Our Cooperation - part five

To review Father Hampsch's previous columns in this series, go to Archives beginning with the May 12, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 10.

April 22, 1998     volume 9, no. 78
Father John Hampsch Column

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