DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY May 13, 1998 vol. 9, no. 93
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"
Thirty-Ninth Installment: Vertical Growth:Our Cooperation part seven
Some 700 students at Brown University in Rhode Island petitioned the Student Health Services to stockpile cyanide suicide pills for use in case of nuclear war. One student called the request "a very American way to handle moral problems." Where is there any hope, any joy, any faith in such an attitude? Many Christians have a similar suicidal hopelessness in their prayer because their faith is anemic.
Resist a spirit that goes against faith. I Peter 5:9 says, "Resist steadfast in the faith the spirit of fear and the spirit of doubt." There are a lot of evil spirits attacking us today, be it divorce or resentment or faithlessness or depression or addiction to nicotine or alcohol. Evil spirits are actually oppressing good people. As Monsignor Walsh writes in his book The Key to the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church, even the holiest of people, even the most spiritual person can be assailed by the devil and his demons. Evil spirits of infirmity, of anger, or of anxiety can actually attach themselves to us and superimpose themselves on weak areas of the body or the mind. And some people never pray for deliverance from them, even though Jesus in teaching the Lord's Prayer commands us to ask God to "deliver us from the evil one."
Certain spirits go against faith - the spirits of faithlessness, fear, doubt. They can drag us down and prevent miracles from ever happening in our lives. "And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith" (Matthew 13:58). There are miracles Jesus will not work in the midst of unbelief. I Peter 5:9 says to resist steadfast in the faith. We must deal vigorously with those spirits that militate against the faith (cf. James 4:2).
"Cast your anxieties on the LordůSatan roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour. Be firm in your faith against him." Paul says something similar when he speaks of putting on the armor of God so that we might stand up against the devil's evil attacks. We are not fighting human beings, we are fighting cosmic powers of darkness. Especially watch for a spirit that seeks to undermine your faith, suggesting: "You've never worked a miracle, so give up." Satan will try to persuade you not to use faith and not to develop your faith. He will tell you it's just for very holy people, but not for you. He will do everything he can to dissuade you from growing in faith.
Go to where your faith can be fed, especially Christian gatherings. It is difficult to grow in your faith by yourself. Get into prayer meetings, groups, retreats, and organizations where you can have your faith fed. Tapes and the right kind of books, especially Holy Scripture, are a great help too.
The true story is told of a shipload of Spanish conquistadors who were shipwrecked off the coast of South America. Only three men survived, floating for days on a makeshift raft without food or water. Nearly bereft of hope, they at last sighted land in the distance. With all the feeble strength they could muster, they paddled for the land. Weaker and weaker they became from dehydration until they collapsed just off shore. Each morning they could barely open their eyes to watch natives come down to the shoreline, dip their hands in the water and drink. The miserable men on the raft could not believe their eyes. Surely they were hallucinating for no man can drink only seawater and live.
Finally one morning, first one and then another of the conquistadors died and were nudged overboard by the lone survivor. He peered once more at the daily ritual of the natives coming down to the sea to drink. Though certain it would be the death of him, the last conquistador crawled to the edge of the raft and dipped his hands into the sea. The water was sweet. He and his shipwrecked companions had discovered the mouth of the mighty Amazon River where eleven billion gallons of fresh water per second rush to meet the sea. The last man lived because he finally believed. The other two died because they would not.
Jesus offers the sweet water of life eternal to all who will drink. So many needlessly wither and die spiritually just a sip away from faith-enriched spiritual fulfillment. Let us pray with the apostles, "Lord, increase our faith!"
KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL