Continues from FAITH IS SUPERNATURAL …
Faith and reason do not contradict since they are from the same source – God, but they work together. ‘So that the submission of our faith might be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of His Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.’ – CCC 156:28-29. This is why Christians today follow Jesus Christ. To some, it is not likely that God would give birth to a Son that would be completely human, suffer and die. But Christians understand the mystery because of their knowledge of the humility, compassion and omnipotence [able to do the impossible by man’s reckoning] attributed to God. Secondly, the Image of God, which He made us, deemed it fit for His creation to procreate; He can and did allow His Son to be procreated by the Blessed Virgin Mary. And lastly, but not the least, the prophecies that prepared us for Christ’s coming was seen to be obviously fulfilled by all evidence and life of Jesus Christ. Reasons alone may not have given credence to the mystery of Christ’s hypostatic union, but the Holy Spirit bestowed us with the gifts that aid us to attain faith in Jesus’ nature as fully Human and of Divine Person of the Triune God.
Why do people believe in what is beyond reason? Faith is not just a plain acceptance of revelations and the Unseen, rather, it is a Spiritual enlightenment that assures the Truth, strengthens resolve in the Truth and delights the faithful in It beyond superficial feelings. No wonder ‘blessed are those who do not see and yet believe’ – John 20:29, and no wonder the joy a new Christian feels at such enlightenment. It is faith that gives credence to what reason cannot explain, and so, faith is greater than reason but not without reason.
A lot of people claim to search for God and to understand why He is docile to the misfortunes of people and the world. It is right to ask questions, because you get filled – Matthew 5:6. But when your intentions are rather cynical than sincere, you may not get filled; you may not experience the faith that comes by hearing, because that faith is gained by listening, and then, the opening of the mind’s eye. It is this sincere seeking that God saw in the Ethiopian that struggled to understand the scripture by Isaiah, that He sent Philip to him to explain. And it is the faith of this Ethiopian that helped him believe that he was saved by being baptized with water – Acts 8:26-40. St. Augustine earnestly searched for the Truth until he found It. The cynical only continues to look for loopholes and not see beyond reason and their egoism.
The Bible has a lot of people with faith, but who struggle to live among a more dissenting number. Even among these faithful, divisions ensued – 1 Corinthians 3: 4-5. Yet, they all seek the face of God. This is because humans make errors in their imperfections, but not the Holy Spirit. With time, the Holy Spirit continues to reveal His Truth to those who seek God truly and firstly – Matthew 6:33. Whatever reason people set up churches, God uses for greater good, because where two or more are gathered in His Name, there He is with them – Matthew 18:20; and if they are not against you, then they are for you – Luke 9:50. Nevertheless, we really must be weary of false prophets or pastors who selfishly lead people to destruction – Matthew 7:15.
Asides the faith of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus’ Apostles and disciples, among others that exhibit great faith in the Bible, may I relate to our faith today? It is faith that helps us believe that a union by marriage makes a couple of two equals one. And it is faith [plus love] that gives us hope of a better tomorrow when we decide to marry and procreate. It is faith that helps us believe in the unity of the three Persons in One God. It is also the faith of the faithful that sustains our world today, instead of the predicament of Sodom and Gomorrah where there were not even up to 10 of God’s faithful. And so, it is refreshing to know that many people have faith, and many also are getting to have faith in God.
When God calls us to have faith like children, He calls us to not worry, but to trust that He is always with us. It seems like a tall order, but it does not bother a child, and so, should not bother us. Like a child turns to her parents when she perceives danger, so should we turn to God in the face of adversity. It is not without reason, because as the child believes her parents’ love would make her safe, so do God’s faithful believe that the God who made us and all things for us, as well as, gave His Holy Begotten Son to die for us, and performs many miracles for our wellbeing, will keep us safe here on earth and / or in the room He has prepared for us – John 14: 2-3 and Matthew 10: 28.
The Covid 19 pandemic has caused some atheists to challenge God’s believers about His ability to end the virus if He exists. It only makes me remember how insatiable humans are. The Israelites that were freed from Egypt in the old testament were hard at faith even though they saw all of God’s miracles for them; they kept making demands as though they were entitled and ungrateful for previous ones. God made the world for us and for our benefits, but do we treat our environment right and live righteous? When we create pandemics and illnesses we are not able to control or heal, we begin to ask for miracles or question God’s existence. Perhaps, if we look inwards, we will find the solutions to the pandemic by treating ourselves and our environment right; by obedience to God’s commandments; by our collective actions to ending pandemics, tsunamis, terrorism, corrupt leadership, etc; and even by miracles still.
Although He commissions us to spread the Gospel, only He can perfect the salvation of souls. Only He, by His grace, can convert His creation to Himself, and so, we do not need to force anyone to faith. Just do your part and He will do the rest; He knows His creation better than you do and will reach them as He knows how to.
A lot of things are going on in the world today that are making even some faithful question their faith. All I can say to us is to keep in touch with the Spirit of God in us. He gives the fortitude to sustain our faith in this trying times. He enlightens us with knowledge and understanding that only He can give. He counsels us in His Truth, Way and Life; and He gives us the wisdom to live by in the face of these adversities. He helps us to remain righteous and holy, and to fear only He who has power over body and soul [Matthew 10: 28], and got the whole world in His hands.
Have a one-on-one with Him by lifting your spirit to His. Find a quiet place to do this and with sincere intent. Read the Bible to know more about Him and ask Him whatever you want. Pray that He leads you to seek counsel from a Priest or Pastor or a plain faithful that will lead you to His Truth. Continue to do this until you find Him. If God has not found you because of your unbelief, find Him by reaching out; His grace is in here, everywhere and sufficient. So, keep in touch with Him and keep faith – it is a supernatural gift, an overwhelming insight of and trust in the existence of God, and a grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Have a faith-full life.
This article is inspired by a fan who commented on one of my earlier articles – THE HULLABALOO ABOUT DROPPING RELIGION. I hope he or she reads this one and that it helps him or her clarify his or her puzzle.
By IfeanyiChukwu Oluwafemi Chukwudi, May 15, 2020