Presence of God
I. Jesus has said : "All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mc. 9, 22). It would seem that before an act of living faith, blind, unconditional faith, God does not know how to resist and considers Himselfalmost obliged to grant our requests. The Gospel tells us this on every page : before Jesus performed a miracle, He always asked for an act of faith. "Do you believe that I can do this unto you?" (Mt. 9, 28); and when faith was sincere, the miracle took place immediately. "Be of good heart, daughter," He said to the woman who was troubled with an issue of blood, "thy faith hath made thee whole" (Mt. 9, 22). Jesus never said, "My omnipotence has saved yon, has cured you," but your faith, as if to make us understand that faith is the indispensable condition that He requires if we are to benefit from His omnipotence. He, the Almighty, will use His omnipotence only for the benefit of those who firmly believe in Him. This is why the divine Master refused to perform in Nazareth the many miracles He performed elsewhere. The more lively our faith, the more powerful it is with the very power of God. "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed," Jesus affirmed, "you shall say to this mountain, ‘ Remove from hence hither, ’ and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you" (Mt. 17, 19). These words are true, literally true, like everything in the Gospel; if they are not effectual for us, it is only because our faith is very weak. How many difficulties we meet with in life which are for us real mountains to move! Difficulties in the spiritual life : faults we cannot overcome, virtues we cannot seem to acquire; difficulties in our everyday life : insufficient means ofsupport, duties which surpass our ability or our strength.... And we stop, discouraged, at the foot of these mountains : "It is impossible, I cannot do it!" It would take only a little faith like a grain of mustard seed, which is very tiny indeed. But provided that faith is living, capable of sprouting like the mustard seed, provided that faith is certain, resolute, supernatural, and that it counts only on God and trusts in His Name alone, this faith will confront every difficulty whatsoever with courage. Oh! if we could only have such faith! "Nothing is impossible to him that believeth."
II. Although the difficulties we encounter may be serious ones, discouragement is never justified. We become discouraged because we reflect on our powerlessness : on one side, we remember our past failures, and on the other, we place before ourselves the prospect of situations which are beyond our strength, making them appear like insurmountable mountains which crush, smother and paralyze us. But a soul who has faith in God, who is sure of its God, well knows how to find a way to escape from these straits, and makes use of its own impotence and difficulties as a springboard to plunge into God by a strong, determined act of faith.
God sometimes permits us to find ourselves in very difficult situations which cannot be solved by human means. He permits us to undergo painful spiritual trials, resulting in states of real anguish, and He permits this for the sole purpose of forcing us to practice the virtue of faith, which in certain cases can and must become heroic. If then, God visits us with similar trials, we must believe that it is not because He has abandoned or rejected us, nor that He wants to discourage or destroy us; He acts thus to make us strong, yes, even heroic in our faith. We must believe in Him, in His all-powerful omnipotence; believe in His word. Perhaps God delays to come to our help only because we are not yet to make an act of complete faith! He asks us, as he asked the two blind men in the Gospel : "Do you believe that I can do this?" (Mt. 9, 28); and we do not yet know how to answer a strong determined yes, without uncertainty, without any if or but. Yet, even if our faith were strong, God could still test it as Jesus did that of the Canaanite woman. If He does, we must imitate her : we must not give up, nor cease to believe, but believe even more firmly, so that He will be forced to answer us as He did that humble woman : "Great is thy faith; be it done to thee as thou wilt" (Mt. 15, 28).
"O my Lord and my God, so weak is our faith that we desire what we see more than what faith tells us—though what we actually see is that people who pursue these visible things meet with nothing but ill fortune.
"If then, grave difficulties appear, oh! how the devil rejoices—if for no other reason than to weaken our faith and to persuade us not to believe, O Lord, that You are powerful and can do works which are incomprehensible to our understanding.
"May You be blessed, O my God! I acknowledge Your great power. If You are mighty, as indeed You are, what is impossible to You who can do all things? Miserable though I am, I firmly believe that You can do what You will; and the greater the marvels I hear of You, the stronger grows my faith, and the more do I reflect that You can work others yet greater. How can I wonder at what is done by the Almighty?" (T.J. Int CII, 1 - VI, 3 - Exc, 4).
"Not to believe in You, O my God,requires more faith than to believe in You! Your love for me is so great that I no longer need faith to believe in it" (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
"O my God, You are love and omnipotence. You know all, You can do all, You will all, and You guide all for Your own glory and for our advantage. What faith I draw from these truths! What confidence, peace, and love they give me! I know that even when You are not giving me anything tangible, You are still my God, always providing lovingly for the work of Your hands. Hence, 1 hide myself in You with faith, to withstand the violence of the storm, certain that, when it pleases You, by Your divine omnipotence, You will make the dead rise again" (cf. Bl. M. Ther^se Soubiran).
No, my God, the strength of Your arm is not lessened. If you do not perform miracles in my favor, it is only because my faith is weak. Help my incredulity, O Lord : increase my faith!
Topics in this meditation:Faith
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