DAILY CATHOLIC - Tuesday, November 25, 1997 volume 8, no. 38
KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL
Faith: Key to the Heart of God
Fifteenth installment: Becoming Faith-Fit
How does one get the gift of faith? You cannot create a sense of "no doubt." You cannot create within yourself the absolute certainty the mountain is going to move. But God can give you the certainty if you pray for it. Those who are baptized in the Spirit have a much better chance of receiving this certainty of faith than those who aren't because it is a charismatic gift (cf. 1 Corinthians 12: 8). Remember:
1. To reaceive the gift of faith, you must practice the virtue of faith. Believe in Jesus and in all truths that He revealed through His Holy Church, and reaffirm your faith in that revelation.
2. Seek the gift earnestly. Paul commands this. In 1 Corinthians 14: 1 he says to seek earnestly all the charismatic gifts. You won't get all the charismatic gifts, especially ministerial gifts. But you should seek them all, including the gift of faith. Have you asked for it earnestly? If your child were dying, you would pray earnestly. In a crisis you pray earnestly ("No atheist in a foxhole"). But what about praying earnestly for things that aren't that dramatic, like the gift of the discernment of spirits, or prophecy, or faith? You give far more glory to God by having the faith than by having healing results from that faith. But do you pray for that faith as earnestly as you pray for the healing?
3. If you want the gift of faith, use the gift of praying in tongues. Paul says this indirectly in Romans 8:26 and 27: "By our faith, the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying." Problems and prayer. How does He help? In faith. Where does faith come in? He explains it by saying, "We don't know how we should pray or what we should pray for. The Holy Spirit will pray within us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words."
The groaning in the Spirit - that's the gift of tongues used even by Jesus (cf. Hebrews 5: 7). "The Father Who understands what the Spirit is saying within your heart will answer in accordance with His Will" (Romans 8: 27). Gaining the gift of faith will be enhanced through praying in tongues, which both Paul and Jesus say we should all have (cf. 1 Corinthians 14: 5 and Mark 16: 17).
1 Corinthians 14: 23 warns that those who do not have the charismatic gifts will think that those are crazy who speak in tongues. Expect this persecution because they don't appreciate this gift who don't have it. The same is true for prophecy. In their ignorance they say it is either foolish or beyond their attaining. They won't even ask for it, though the Bible commands them to ask for it. That is typical of the prejudice we meet in fostering the charismatic renewal within the Church.
The three means of cultivating the gift of faith are: by practicing the virtue of faith, by "earnestly seeking" the gift of faith and by praying in tongues. We all have some level of faith; that's where God starts - He takes us where we are. As Isaiah said, God will not crush the bruised reed or quench the smouldering flax (cf. Isaiah 42: 3). But whatever faith you have, don't lose it. In Hebrews 10:38 we are warned not to slip back in our faith, for that is not pleasing to God.
Without faith, you cannot please God (cf. Hebrews 11: 6). The more faith you have, the more you please God. And the more you please God, the more He'll please you by filling your needs.
Next week: Dynamic Two: The Virtue of Faith
November 25, 1997 volume 8, no. 38   DAILY CATHOLIC - COLUMNS