ARE WE BELIEVERS?
Jesus has told them over and over, on many different occasions: «How little faith you have!». The disciples don’t argue with him. They know he’s right. They‘ve been around him long enough. They see him given completely to God’s Project; he only thinks about doing what’s good; he only lives to make everyone’s life more dignified and more human. Will they be able to follow him to the end?
According to Luke, at a certain point, the disciples say to Jesus: «Increase our faith». They feel that their faith is small and weak. They need to trust more in God and believe more in Jesus. They don’t understand him very well, but they don’t argue with him. They rightly do what is more important: ask his help to make their faith grow.
We talk about believers and non-believers, as if they were two well-defined groups: some have faith, others don’t. In reality, it’s not that way. Almost always, in the human heart, there co-exists both a believer and a non-believer. That’s why, even those of us who call ourselves «Christian» need to ask ourselves: Are we really believers? Who is God for us? Do we love God? Is it God who directs our lives?
Faith can grow weak in us without our ever being plagued by a single doubt. If we don’t take care of our faith, it ends up getting diluted little by little within us and ends up simply reduced to something that we’re accustomed to that we wouldn’t dare abandon, just in case we’d need it. Distracted by a thousand things, we end up not communicating with God. For all practical purposes, we live without God.
What can we do? In reality, nothing all that grand is needed. It’s useless to make extraordinary resolutions since we surely won’t fulfill them. What’s needed above all is to pray like the unknown guy who one day came to Jesus and said: «I believe, Lord, but help my unbelief». It’s good to repeat these words with a simple heart. God understands us. God will awaken our faith.
We don’t need to talk with God as if God were outside of us. God is within. The best thing to do is to close our eyes and be quiet in order to feel and open ourselves to God’s Presence. Nor do we need to keep ourselves busy in thinking about God, as if it’s just something in our head. It’s in the depths of our being. We need to seek God’s Presence in our heart.
What’s important is to keep at it until we have an initial experience, no matter how poor, even if it lasts for only a few seconds. If the day comes when we perceive that we aren’t alone in our life, if we catch on to the fact that we are loved by God without deserving it, everything changes. It won’t matter that we’ve been forgetting God. To believe in God is above all to trust in the love God has for us.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf