DAILY CATHOLIC -    Tuesday, March 17, 1998   volume 9, no. 54



by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F.

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Thirty Installment: Vertical Growth: Fertilizing Faith part two

     We sometimes feel as if we should be able to do all kinds of miracles at once, like laying hands on the sick to heal them instantly; and if we donít have 100 percent success in getting our prayers answered, we may feel that there is something wrong with our faith. There probably is a defect or limit, but that is no reason to get discouraged. Some people fret because theyíve never worked a miracle and thus feel that they must have little faith. They are fearful that their faith is actually failing. That is the time to open ourselves humbly to the power of God to develop that faith, as described in I Timothy 3:13: "Develop bold faith in the Lord."

      If your faith is very weak and you lack boldness in using it, your hesitancy is probably rooted in your fear of failure. That fear could prove fatal to the little faith you might have. Very few people would dare to pray over someone to be healed of blindness, or to pray for the suppression of crime in a particular city, or for the salvation of every prostitute in the nation, but theyíll pray for the relief of a headache. They are afraid of becoming discouraged by failing in the big requests, and thus of losing the little faith they have; they then fear they may become unable to obtain even small favors from God that would require less faith.

      Yet the Lord does not expect us to attain to mature, fully formed faith all at once (thatís why Jesus prayed for Peterís growth in faith). What He does expect of us is a readiness and willingness to grow in faith. A cooperative attitude is a minimum requirement to "develop bold faith in the Lord." Without our cooperation, we could become spiritually apathetic, and that can be a real problem. The "donít-rock-the-boat" attitude, or general disinterest in faith-growth, is not merely a mental state of mind, but a disastrous prelude to spiritual deterioration, for "all that is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).

Next Installment: Vertical Growth: God's Operation

march 17, volume 9, no. 54         DAILY CATHOLIC - COLUMNS