April 17, 2012

Our Great Act of Faith

Is one of the greatest spiritual diseases inflicting our age a lack of confidence in the love of God?   Confident as we are in technology, science and psychology, we are not able to bear with one another the way the generations before us were.   Our sacred promises unkept, our marriages broken, our children neglected, our dignity diminished: our faith in materialism has not given us confidence.  What has robbed us of our courage to stand fast in the midst of hardship, to believe in love in the face of the sin that afflicts us all?  

Death, sin, moral evil, physical and psychological suffering, contention even with those we most love, these signs of brokenness in our world thwart us and discourage our spirits.   We want to rebel against them or we feel overcome with despondency.   We also know that such temptations are not new, and that every man and woman who has gone before us had to face the same crossroads.  

The biggest difference between the people of faith who came before and us now is not the advancements we have made in science and technology but rather the wisdom they had and we have lost.  They knew that, whenever we try to rely on our own limited resources, such efforts are futile.  They were not so superstitious about the promises of material bliss as are we. Those people of faith also knew that God did not create us for futility.

Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity was convinced that our great act of faith was to believe in the exceeding love of God, to believe that no matter what happens to us, we remain always enveloped in His exceeding love.  This kind of faith in which we abandon ourselves into God's hands and trust in Him requires that even after we have failed miserably in our efforts to love one another, we pick ourselves up and step out again.  It demands constant efforts at examining our conscience, conversion, repentance, and difficult sacrifices for the sake of love.  This faith demands that we constantly renounce discouragement and seek the courage that only God can give through prayer. 

We never give up on one another because God never gives up on us.  He loved us to the end and He gives us what we need to love one another to the end.   What is it we need?  Him, Himself!  For God is love -and it is his love in us that makes it possible for us to live by love.  Living by this love - this alone restores what we have destroyed for it unleashes a power greater than unkept promises.   Marriages, children and dignity have been saved by the Blood of Christ - His Cross is our source of courage.

For Episode 11 on my reflections on Blessed Elizabeth's retreat Heaven in Faith with Kris McGregor and Miriam Gutierrez as the voice of the Mystic of Dijon, click here.