DAILY CATHOLIC -    Tuesday, March 3, 1998   volume 9, no. 44



by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F.

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Twenty-eighth Installment: Measuring Maturity Don't waste your time, just believe!

      Take any one of the doctrinal statements in the Bible, and check your faith by your response to it. The same test can be used with exhortatory texts. For instance, I Corinthians 15:58 encouraging us to always abound in the Lordís work for "nothing done for the Lord is ever wasted". Everything we do, every good act we perform, every nickel we give to a poor person is going to have its reward. How about picking up the kidsí pajamas, waiting patiently in a traffic jam, preparing a meal, all for the love of God - "nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted." Do you have a headache now? You might pray, "Lord, use this headache to help someone suffering from a migraine someplace, or persons who are being tortured in prison, or use it to enhance the pastoral influence of some clergyman somewhere." Your faith tells you that nothing done for the Lord is wasted. Nothing. It is your life permeated with the kind of faith that makes such truths really meaningful for you?

      Now, the headache is past, it happened yesterday, itís gone as if it never happened. There is no lingering effect, itís gone and you are the same now as if you hadnít had it at all. The lasting effects of it, however, are in the future, perhaps ten billion years from now you will still be enjoying the higher place in heaven because of how you handled that headache on earth. Why then are we so preoccupied with this little problem now? We are preoccupied with this life and have too little regard for the next life. When you look back on your present suffering ten years from now, it will be all forgotten or at least appear less relevant. How will it look 10,000 years from now? Like a star fading away in the distance. You get your sense of perspective from eternity. Do you believe in eternity itself? If you believe it, thatís secondary faith. How does it effect your life and everyday behavior? As Paul stated so dramatically in Colossians 3:3, "Have as little desire for things of this world as a dead person does."

      In any kind of secondary faith that you touch upon, ask yourself those three inventory questions: Do I believe? Do I really believe? Do I act as if I believe?

      Simple questions, but what a difference they could make! "A just man lives by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). Living by faith means living in the heart of God. Paulís injunction needs to be heeded frequently: "Test yourself, to see whether you really have faith" (II Corinthians 13:5; cf Romans 12:3).

Next Installment: Vertical Growth: Fertilizing Faith

February 24, volume 9, no. 39         DAILY CATHOLIC - COLUMNS