DAILY CATHOLIC -    Wednesday, April 15, 1998   volume 9, no. 73



by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F.

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Thirty-Fifth Installment: Vertical Growth: Our Cooperation part three

      The third way we can fertilize our faith is namely by allowing our faith to "work through love" (Galatians 6:5). The acme of faith is the yielding faith that believes in Godís personal love for each of usóthe "Good News" or gospel message. Once you really believe that God loves you (I John 4:16), and you relax in His arms, nothing disturbs you! No anxiety, no loneliness, no fear, because you know He can and will make "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28). Your faith convinces you that God created you because He loves you, and He heals you because He loves you. We learn to count on His love and that itself is a faith-building experience. Pope Paul VI reminded us that to receive Godís hug is to surrender to His personal, merciful love. Faith induces this experience of divine intimacy, for "faith works through love."

      As we become aware not only of Godís love for us but His promised ongoing presence (Matthew 28:20) as "Emmanuel" (Matthew 1:25; Isaiah 7:14), our faith in and dependency on Him will grow. This enables us to "Live in vital union with him" (Colossians 2:6). We can then say with Paul (Galatians 2:20), "I live, but not I, it is Christ who lives in me" as we experience His divinity penetrating our humanity. Paul is not saying Christ is near him, or with him, or that he is following Christ. Paul is saying that Christ is living his life, totally permeating him and all his activities. When we reach that point we are operating at a very high level of faith, especially when weíre truly convinced of the very personal dimension of Godís unitive love. St. Augustine wrote: "God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us." Yielding to this faithfuilding truth found in Godís Word will enable us to recognize that Christ is in us through the power of His Spiritóin us in the deepest way. At that point our faith becomes a truly mystical, contemplative experience.

      Paul asks if we know we are the temples of God wherein His Spirit dwells (the word "know" in Scripture usually means experiential knowledge). "Donít you now (experience) that you are the temple of God?" (I Corinthians 3:16). He is not asking, donít you acknowledge the theological truth that you are the temple of God? That is not the question. The question is, do you experience that within you? "Glorify and bear God in your bodies" (I Corinthians 6:20) as well as your souls. Heís talking about an experienced reality.

Next Installment: Vertical Growth:Our Cooperation - part four

april 15, volume 9, no. 73         DAILY CATHOLIC - COLUMNS