DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     May 27, 1998     vol. 9, no. 102


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: Supernatural Faith part one. 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"

Forty-First Installment: Supernatural Faith part one

          Likewise in the spiritual life, we cannot do anything without faith, most especially in prayer. Without it, we certainly can't please God (Hebrews 11:6). Only Christians can have true supernatural faith, based on the promises of Jesus, through the revelation of God's Word. Faith means giving substance to, or substantiating, the things hoped for, the things that are not seen (Hebrews 11:1). This faith is not inherent in human nature. In terms of salvation, it is God's grace freely given (Ephesians 2:8).

          What is an adequate basis for the prayer of faith? We can say what it is not. It is not the evidence of outward circumstances. Elijah prayed for rain when there was no rain in sight. Six times came the report that the sky was cloudless (I Kings 18). Regardless, Elijah insisted that rain was on the way. It was-in torrents. Yet, there was no external confirmation for that belief when the prayer of faith went up. This is belief and trust in God, in spite of appearances. I can't tell you how important that statement is, to believe and trust in God in spite of appearances. It looks like this person you are praying for is unconvertible. It looks like that cancer is irreversible. It looks like that child of yours is going to be an alcoholic, and nothing is going to change it. All the evidence goes against what you want. To believe in God despite appearances is what triggers the miracle. Not to rely on your faith, but to rely on God. There are a number of people who believe when probability is in their favor, but faith acts when the probabilities are minimal. That is why faith is so uplifting; it carries optimism within itself.

          Secondly, faith does not require or demand a sign to shore it up. When Jesus was on the cross, those berating Him challenged Him to come down from the cross and save himself if He was indeed the Christ. They wanted a sign. If He had come down, they would have believed. He would have had converts right there on the spot. It would have been an overwhelming miracle. There was nothing more faithless than that very challenge itself.

          Remember the two thieves crucified with Jesus? The one said, "Save yourself and save us if you are the Messiah." But the good thief responded, "We don't deserve to be saved. This man does, He is innocent." He did not demand a sign. Gideon's putting out a fleece was to determine the will of God. It was not God's response to Gideon's request that made that miracle happen. It was a sort of concession to feebleness of Gideon's faith rather than a reward for the strength of his faith.

          Jesus constantly deprecated the seeking of a sign, the "prove-it-to-me" attitude. The Jewish leaders demanded a sign of Jesus. Jesus replied the His sign was the temple would be destroyed by them in three days and He would raise it up again, speaking of His body (John 2:18 and 19). The Pharisees desired to test Jesus' claim to be Messiah. They asked Him to give some great demonstration in the skies. He said in effect that they are their own worst sign, an evil and unbelieving generation that would receive no further sign except for a miracle that had already happened, that of John (Matthew 16: 1-4). On another occasion (Matthew 12:39) Jesus said that only an evil, faithless generation would ask for further proof.

May 27, 1998       volume 9, no. 102


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