DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     May 20, 1998     vol. 9, no. 98


Column by Father John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
          "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 topic: The Prayer of Faith. 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.

"Faith: Key to the Heart of God"

Fortieth Installment: The Prayer of Faith

          The media are missing the biggest and saddest story of all time and it's right under their noses. An intuitive newspaper editor shouldn't hesitate to print this headline on tomorrow's front page:

          No, not famine of food and water, but a horrible, shriveling, killing famine of faith in the Word of God. The prophet Amos wrote the headline thousands of years ago: "Behold, the days will come, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lordů" (Amos 8:11). Meant for Israel, yes, but it is not the only nation that is hard-of-hearing. In every country, too few are hearing God's words. The Bible could be subtitled The Book of Faith, but it takes a believer to activate that faith, to hear and to act.

          There was a self-service elevator with a sign on the control panel pointing to the eighth floor button that read: "The eight floor button is out of order." Some wag had written beneath it: "Instead, push numbers 3 and 5."

          There is no substitute for certain things. The third and fifth floors do not substitute for the eighth floor. And there is no substitute for faith. We are reminded in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. There is no substitute for that. It is the criterion that determines how we grow in our spiritual life.

          We have natural faith. Every time you mail a letter, you believe the letter is going to reach its destination. There is no proof that it will. You have a total confidence that when you let go of that letter and it slips into the mailbox, it will go where you want it to go. There is a letting go involved, and that's a kind of faith in itself.

          Natural faith operates all the time. You put catsup on your food that you have never had chemically analyzed. Yet, you assume that it is not full of strychnine and you believe the ones who bottled it did not attempt to poison the contents. The certitude is so great that it follows through with action. When you walk across the street on a green light, you cross in front of powerful cars with idling motors. You believe the motorists won't run you down. You take an action of trust so great, you actually place your life in the hands of others.

          When you undergo surgery, how do you know the surgeon isn't simply going to stab you? When you are under anesthesia, you are completely trusting in the surgeon's skill. The difference between a stab and a surgical incision is the difference between evil intentions and good ones. You presume he intends good. That's a real act of faith.

          When you enter an elevator, you have faith to believe the inspectors saw to it that the cables were strong enough to hold you up. If you had a doubt, you wouldn't' get in. You have enough faith in the architect of the building you live in, to believe that the roof is strong enough not to cave in. You act on that belief by putting yourself in a position that shows you believe by living there.

          Every time you get a haircut, how do you know you aren't going to get scalped? You trust the barber. You trust the airline pilot to take you to Houston, believing you won't end up in Chicago (or Cuba).

          You never saw Abraham Lincoln but you trust historians who say that he lived, and even celebrate a holiday in his memory. That belief expresses itself in action. Our whole life functions on the basis of natural faith. It would be impossible to go one hour without exercising natural faith.

May 20, 1998       volume 9, no. 98


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