Ya Gotta Have Faith!!! ~ Br. Dominic Ferrante, Novice

faith

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.  John 20:19-31

What is faith?  Some people define it as belief without proof.   Almost everyone, if you ask them will say they have faith in different things,  whether it be Christ, a loved one, or even something as silly as a sports team.  But what does it mean to truly have faith?  While I was living alone in Ohio I always had faith that God would reunite me with my family.  My faith may have wavered sometimes, but I truly did believe that God would provide and I took comfort in that.

In today’ s Gospel, Christ appears before the disciples, except for Thomas, who wasnt’ around. He proclaims to them peace be with you.  Naturally the disciples are overjoyed to see their Lord and receive the Holy Spirit from him.  After Jesus left and Thomas had returned, the disciples eagerly told him what happened; yet he refused to believe, stating he needed proof before he could accept this.

We could ask ourselves why couldn’t Thomas believe these men?  Men he had lived with, traveled with,  and became as close as brothers to?  He needed proof he said. This shows an astonishing lack of faith on his behalf.  After Christ appeared to him and he was shown proof,  his faith was restored.  Christ said, “You believe because you’ve seen,  blessed are those who believe without seeing.”

There are times when our faith is sometimes overshadowed by doubt . Doubt makes things easy for us,  it lets us second guess ourselves and leads us to easier choices than faith often does, even when those choices are not really in our best interests.  Our faith in Christ must be unshakable.  We must believe in His glory without having to have the burden of proof.  Faith leads us down the path of salvation and to eternal life.  Faith keeps us close to God and helps us to lead the life he has chosen for us.

So how do we as Christians keep unwavering faith amidst the challenges we face in the modern world?  Financial trouble, sickness, tragedy, and an increase in inhumanity amongst the people of the world all pose serious challenges to one’s faith.

Ask God for more faith. Jesus instructed His disciples to ask, seek and to knock (Matthew 7:7–12). James offers the same advice (James 1:5). This is why the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. We can do the same. Pray earnestly about this.

Prove what you believe. Follow Paul’s admonition (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and prove that God exists, that the Bible is His inspired word, where the true Church is and who are God’s true ministers. Prove what the Bible actually says, and hold fast to what you prove to be the truth.

Study what the Bible reveals about faith. Read and meditate on the examples of faith described in Hebrews 11. Read the original accounts in the Old Testament.Determine what lessons you can draw from these accounts. Learn and grow.

Stir up God’s Spirit. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. God gives His Spirit to those who repent and obey Him. Pray, study, meditate and fast regularly. Nourish and use God’s Spirit. Doubts will disappear as our faith grows (2 Timothy 1:6–7).

Live by faith. Put into practice what you read in the Scriptures. Trust God and His Word. If the Bible says to do it, then do it—don’t argue with the Scriptures. The American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “We live by faith or we do not live at all. Either we venture or we vegetate. If we venture, we do so by faith simply because we cannot know the end of anything at its beginning. We risk marriage or we stay single. We prepare for a profession by faith or we give up before we start. By faith we move mountains of opposition or we are stopped by mole hills.”

Endure trials that will arise as you strive to live by every word of God. Enduring and overcoming the trials will help us build both faith and patience (James 1:2–4). It has been said, “If we desire to increase faith we must consent to its testing.” Remember that God has promised to get us through the trials (1 Corinthians 10:13) and the trials He allows are for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Don’t compromise or deny the true faith. The Bible warns repeatedly about false teachers who will undermine and overthrow the faith of others by promoting misleading doctrines and ideas. We are also told many will depart from or discard the true faith. However, the Scriptures clearly state there is one faith and one body [church], and it is the job of the ministry to promote the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:4–6, 12–13). The role of the church is to maintain true doctrines (1 Timothy 3:15–16, see also Acts 15). This is why it is so important to know where God’s true Church is today and what the Bible actually says. The Scriptures are not to be interpreted as each individual sees fit in his or her own mind (2 Peter 1:20). This only leads to confusion, which damages and destroys faith. As we approach the end of this age and Satan increases his attacks on true believers, we will have to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude :3).

Faith is important to God. Faithfulness is as important in our physical life as it is for our eternal life. As the apostle Paul saw the end of his life approaching he concluded, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7–8). He knew—he had faith and total confidence—his reward awaited him. The God of this universe has big things in store for all mankind—especially for those He is calling to be His firstfruits—those who learn now to trust Him. Let’s make a diligent effort to grow in faith. Let’s hold on faithfully to the Truth God has revealed to His Church. Let’s strive to build an atmosphere of faith in the Living Church of God—so when Jesus Christ returns He will find real faith in those He has called.

So do not be a doubting Thomas keep your faith strong, and the Lord will provide for you.  As our Savior told the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemene, watch and pray that ye might not be deceived.  Reading and studying the Gospel gives us a solid foundation to build our faith upon.  Remembering that God is with us at all times, even the dark ones, will help us to live and rejoice in the Glory of the Father. By attending mass and listening to what our wonderful clergy says is also an invaluable resource for us to infuse new vitality to our faith.   Remember, keeping foremost in your mind:  Ya gotta have faith!!!

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