DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY July 8, 1998 vol. 9, no. 132
KEY TO LIVING GOD'S WILL
Column by Father John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.
To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
"Faith: Key to the Heart of God"
Forty-Seventh Installment: Success Through Faith part two
A couple with a retarded child came to one of my retreats. The amniocentesis test prior to the child's birth showed the couple would have a child with Down's Syndrome. The doctor had wanted to abort the mongoloid fetus. The couple resisted and decided not to abort. The doctor warned that the retardation would be so severe the child would be a vegetable and would have to be institutionalized.
They had accepted such a child and then come to see me at the retreat. They asked if I would pray for the retarded child at home. I said yes I would but that I would like them to pray for the child as well in a sustained prayer.
"Could you pray over your child with a simple childlike faith of your own for twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes at night?" I asked them. "Nothing noticeable will probably happen within a week or even a month-it may take a long time. It's going to take a tremendous faith on your part, but God will hear your prayer." They agreed. It took a great deal of heroism for them to do it, and God must have truly loved them for that.
The couple embarked on their daily prayer vigil. When their daughter was 8 ½ years old, the faithful prayers had worked a miracle. What had been called an uneducable child was in a regular school in the appropriate grade with just slightly below average IQ, receiving B's and C's in most subjects-to all indications a normal child, through faith, perseverance, and prayer.
What is the prayer of faith? Does getting an answer depend upon how much faith I can muster? If I pray and get no recognizable answer, does that mean I have no faith or perhaps not enough faith? If I do pray and some great miracle happens, does that indicate I have great faith?
Sometimes persons who have lost their faith receive miraculous answers. Sometimes it is the faith of the healer, or the faith of the healed, and sometimes neither. Jesus haled the paralytic when he was let down through the roof because He admired the faith of the man's friends who went to all the trouble of removing the tiles from the roof and lowering him down into the midst of a crowd because they could not get in the door. Jesus responded to their faith to heal the man.
The woman who lost her house was bitter, her faith was weak. She had practically lost her faith in God because of that, and yet God answered her prayer. There is a paradox here. How much must one believe in order to get the right answer? In general, we can follow this principle of Jesus: "According to your faith be it done unto you."
In the next installment, part two of "Survival of the Spiritually Fittest.
KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL