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My home visit: I am very happy to tell you that I am going to India from
January 6-February 16, 2022 to visit my parents, family and friends. I am also going to visit my home diocese bishop and priest friends. It’s been more than two years since I went last time. In my absence, Fr. Anil will be filling in, residing at St. Mary’s rectory.
It is a pleasure serving in St. Mary’s cluster parish and you are all extremely good at supporting and encouraging me in my ministry. I am eagerly waiting to share all these joys in India. Please do pray for my safe journey and return with good health.
Theological Virtues: Faith
Theological virtues are virtues associated in Christian Theology and Philosophy with salvation resulting from the grace of God. Virtues are qualities which dispose one to conduct oneself in a morally good manner. Virtue means strength or power. They connect us to God. They are the essentials of Christian life. These virtues are: 1. Faith, 2. Hope, and 3. Charity. St. Paul says: “Let us … put on the breastplate of faith and love and for a helmet, the hope of salvation”. (1 Thessalonians 5: 8)
Faith: St. Augustine says, “Faith is believing what we don’t see and seeing what we believe”. Without faith, it is impossible to please God because faith is the foundation of all our relations with Him. Faith does not depend upon data received through our senses. Though Faith is a gift of God, it does not always come naturally, and it sometimes requires us to take courage to put an end to hesitation and doubt. By faith we begin to know God as we shall one day know Him in heaven. Hence, faith is the beginning of eternal life. Today faith must prepare us for the beatific vision of tomorrow, and should make us to enter into communion with God.
We would only need a little faith like a mustard seed, which is very tiny indeed. But when that faith is living, it is capable of sprouting and becoming a big tree, giving shelter to the birds. Faith confronts any difficulty and nothing is impossible to him who trusts in the Lord in faith. Discouragement is never justified. We are discouraged because we are powerless. This should direct us to God. That is why the light of faith was enkindled within us at the time of Baptism.
The more we look at everything in the light of faith, the more closely we will approach the infinite wisdom of God, judging everything according to God’s infallible truth. Faith is the light which envelops not only our moments of prayer, but our whole life as well. With this view of faith, it is easier for us to accept the painful situations and hardships of life because they are all ordered or permitted for our sanctification. Then we would find the strength to accept everything peacefully, and to maintain a kindly attitude toward those who make us suffer. Faith asks us to believe God’s wise, loving guidance, even when we do not understand and are inclined to think that everything is going wrong. Hence, “The just man lives by faith”.
Painful trials strengthen our faith and make it purer and more supernatural because we believe that God has allowed or permitted them. This is the moment that we need to give Him testimony of our faith by putting ourselves in the hands of God. Faith is like a light in the dark night. Jesus always asked for faith before he has performed any miracle. “Do you believe that I can do this for you”, “Great is thy faith; be it done to thee as thou wilt” (Mt. 9:28-29). Faith is the indispensable condition for any miracle or grace.
Prayer: “O Lord, it is so sweet to serve You in darkness and in the midst of trials, for we have only this life in which to live by faith” says Bl. Theresa Soubiran.
Hope: Hope means a feeling of expectation and certainty for a certain thing to happen. It means trusting. When we hope, we are not passive, but active. Hope is an essential virtue of Christian life. It is a confident affirmation that God is faithful, that He will complete what He has begun. It is a hope of certainty. It is a Christian strength. “In silence and in hope shall your strength be” (Is 30:15). Where there is no hope there is no future and life. Where there is no hope, there is no faith.
Our Blessed Mother Mary was silent, and did not try to justify herself in Joseph’s eyes; she was silent because she was filled with hope in God and absolutely certain of His help. God will never disappoint us if we hope in Him. Just as He sent an angel to Joseph to reveal the mystery of Mary’s matrimony, He will always find a way to help and sustain a soul who entrusts itself wholly to Him.
Eucharist is our hope both for this life and for the life to come. It sustains us in adversity, fortifies us in the struggles, saves us for eternal life, and brings us to heaven by providing us with the food necessary for our journey. This is the Christian virtue of hope that makes us alive to our faith in Christ and helps us to continue our spiritual journey. Without this hope there is no journey.
To be continued next week …
Fr. Louis Maram Reddy