Faith can make you walk on water.



Something I think is central to real discipleship is efficacy. I remember my main question about the faith growing up was "what does it actually do?", in other words, what's the point of believing the faith? No one ever explained it to me & I really had to find out for myself.

Perhaps the process begins with the Kerygma, what Pope St John Paul II defines in Catechesi Tradendae as 'the initial ardent proclamation by which a person is one day overwhelmed and brought to the decision to entrust himself to Jesus Christ by faith' and this can be summed up in ten seconds as Scott Hahn does in Evangelizing Catholics, p.119:
‘It takes exactly ten seconds to proclaim the Gospel: (1) God loves you; (2) we have sinned; (3) Christ has died for our sins and risen from the dead; and (4) we have to respond to those gifts by faith.’
Our response in faith is the challenging bit, but honestly these days I'm not finding it so hard, because I have learned, difficultly, painfully, through trial and constant failure, to trust Him. As a very wise man said to me recently, life very seldom goes along steady and trouble free, you find it's either going up or going down. I have learned that when I am frightened by the future, or faced with some frightening reality, the best thing I can do is pray. As St Augustine put it: "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you."

When we have the courage to relinquish control & trust that God does have a plan for us, things become easier. I am in a very difficult period of my life at the moment, but I know that God has a plan and I trust Him that things will work out as He would have them, because I entrust myself to His service. This message came through loud and clear in the Scripture at Mass this morning. In Magnificat for today, there is the following pertinent reflection from Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet (+1704):

Graces of the Storm

On another occasion Christ gives the waters their will, and lets the waves rise with furious vehemence, so that the vessel—driven violently before them—is threatened with instant shipwreck; while Peter, struggling through the waters, expects to be buried in their depths. Nevertheless, our Lord guides the ship and beats up the trembling Apostle with His own hands. Thus a soul, struggling with very violent grief, feels as if she must be overwhelmed and swallowed up by it: we were pressed out of measure above our strength. But Christ gives the poor soul such firm support that the tempest of sorrow, while shaking her to her very foundations, cannot lay her low...

Now we come to the last, noblest, and most glorious way whereby Jesus mastered the waters. Again He gives full rein to the storm, and allows the winds to lash the waves into a fury and make them rise to a fearful height. Then, treading the angry billows under-foot, He walks firmly and confidently over them as if glorying in His power to brave the ungovernable element even in its fiercest rage. In like manner does God let suffering loose upon us that it may act with its fullest force, so that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raised the dead. Then the faithful soul, strong and confident amidst this spiritual tumult, lets the waves of trouble surge harmless around her, and walks over them with so calm and even a step that they are compelled, against their very nature, to serve for her support. Here we have the...highest supernatural way of overcoming afflictions, and the one in which Jesus Christ Himself overcomes His.

When everything seems lost, when you are frightened and alone, when you feel like a failure, all you can do sometimes is trust in divine providence. And the love and confidence that you receive is a gift beyond all measure.


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