Faith is a word we often hear to the extent of reducing it to casual consolation. So what is Faith? Faith has a variety of definitions, one of those being maximum trust in someone or something even when little is known. Faith means strong belief in God, doctrine, religion, spiritual coherence which at times tends to overshadow reality. Faith also refers to a system of religious belief, whether they are facts or theory. Faith means having confidence in what we hope for and the assurance that the Lord is in charge, even when we don’t see it. Faith convinces that no matter what the situation, the Lord is in charge. The Hebrew word for Faith is Emunah which means ‘support’. Indeed, Faith is ‘the Lord’s support’ at all times.
What is interesting is that Faith is neither automatic nor natural as it is a gift from God. Faith left on its remains dormant; instead, Faith is strengthened through bible reading and sharing and experiences with other believers. The more we share, the more confident we grow. When one is confronted with challenges, Faith helps in navigating through.
We need to know that there is a difference between Faith and belief as they are often used interchangeably while they are different. Belief is a firmly held opinion about an idea or a formed opinion about what is said, heard or seen. Beliefs can change over time as one grows and learns new things; instead, Faith remains Faith even when challenged by doubts. St James says “You say you have Faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror” James 2:19. We may act differently basing on our Faith, but the foundation remains intact. Some say they believe in God while their way of life proves otherwise; this is because they are divergently motivated. Faith changes how we live our lives and inspires us to keep moving in the right direction. Having Faith means living in the truth as Faith is never silly or irrational. Faith means trusting God unconditionally.
Most people ask continuously how to grow in their Faith. There are different ways about how we can grow in Faith. The Sacraments, prayer, reading the Word of God, and active participation in the Christian community are some of the ways that support our Faith to grow. Faith grows through loving God and by obeying His commandments. During rough times Faith becomes handy since it encourages worship and sharing situations. Faith grows when shared. Scheduling a specific time daily for prayer makes a huge difference. Prayer is that time alone with Him to discuss anything that is on your heart and mind. Faith invites us to live by Faith instead of sight. Living like this means we are willing to venture into the unknown. This is what trusting God means even though we don’t know where He is leading us or what the outcome will be.
As long as we are alive, we can’t fully predict when trouble will arise. This is the moment when Faith becomes beneficial because of sustaining a positive attitude. Faith is so important in that it turns one into a person of all seasons. When the going gets tough, it is so easy to get upset to the extent of shaking fists and pointing fingers which are never a solution. Faith grants space to sober down circumstances. Only Faith makes us generous even in times of trouble. Faith dictates that we share; not because we have plenty, but because the others deserve. It is in giving and blessing someone else, that we consecrate ourselves too. St. Paul says “each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. Faith sustains the value of sharing and consistently encourages us to reach out to others. Staying connected is one essential value that Faith cherishes. Faith means being part of a bonded body of believers united for a common cause.
Fr. Paulino Mondo