with doubts in our faith
Rev. Raymond Harris
At the Mass of the Holy
Spirit, I said that the decision to follow Christ within
the fellowship of the Church provides us with a proven
foundation that enables us to have a promising future. A
relationship that is important to us will not grow based
upon convenience. It will happen by making a commitment
to get to know that person, to spend time with that
person, and to show that person in concrete ways that
they matter to us.
Acting upon our desire
to establish friendships involves taking the risk of
being accepted or being rejected by others. We are
grateful for those times in which we have received
acceptance, affirmation, and affection that is
appropriate to the level of the relationship. However,
there have been painful times in which we have reached
out to another person and experienced rejection instead.
Entering into a relationship with another person is a
risk worth taking because God did not create us to live
in isolation from one another.
Our desire to enter
into friendship with God is the gift of faith. Faith is
an emphatic decision to love God by striving to live
according to His purpose for our lives and to be guided
by His principles while depending upon His providence.
This gift is for everyone. No one is beyond God’s
capacity to love.
Accepting the gift of
faith means that we are willing to take the risk to
believe that whatever God has revealed to us is the
Truth, whether that be comforting or challenging. God
knows us better than we know ourselves. He does not love
us any less when He challenges us to change. It is not
that our best is not good enough for Him. God affirms
that which is good in our lives, but He is also aware of
that which needs to be transformed by His loving
We will not understand
everything about God. We are finite human beings who
have been lovingly created in the image and likeness of
an infinite God. If we knew everything about God, then
we would be God. Regardless of how some people may feel
about themselves, this is something that will not happen
in their lives.
Our encounter with the
mysteries of faith increases our desire to know more
about One who has loved us before we were born. But how
do we deal with doubts about our faith that can affect
our relationship with Christ and the Church? St. Peter
provides us with an answer.
During a momentous
period when many of Jesus’ disciples left him, St.
Peter said to our Lord, ‘Master to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life (cf. John 668).’
This is the key to dealing with our own periods of
doubts. We need to continue to spend time with Christ,
because nothing else can provide us with the proper
perspective for dealing with our relationships,
academics, athletics, and other commitments.
Let us remain with
Jesus by spending time with him at Sunday Mass. Jesus
did not say at the Last Supper, ‘Just do anything in
remembrance of me.’ He said, ‘Do this in remembrance
of me.’ You may be invited to a party, a date, an
interesting lecture, a sporting event, or a trip to
Gettysburg, Washington, or Baltimore. We can enjoy all
of those things, but the most important invitation to
accept comes from the altar of the Lord during every
Sunday Mass during which he says, ‘This is the Lamb of
God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are
those who are called to His supper.’
Let us remain with
Jesus by spending time with Him in personal prayer. For
a few minutes in the morning, we can ask Jesus for His
blessing and guidance for the day ahead.
For a few minutes in
the evening, we can thank God for His blessings, pray
about those situations and persons that we may have
encountered during the day, and ask for the forgiveness
of our sins.
Let us remain with
Jesus by taking the time to learn what He wants to teach
us in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic
Church. These are our primary textbooks for living. The
acronym, ‘WWJD?’ (i.e., ‘What Would Jesus Do?’),
becomes a dangerous and subjective slogan unless it is
backed up by the substance of listening to what Jesus
says, seeing what Jesus does, and hearing what Jesus
teaches through the Church.
Finally, let us remain
with Jesus by living in union with Him with the Church.
Notice that Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master to whom shall
we go?’ The apostles encouraged one another to grow in
their faith in Christ. Let us take advantage of the many
opportunities for praying, faith sharing, and serving
the community that exist within our Mount Community.
Jesus assures us that He is present when two or more
disciples gather in His name to support one another as
followers of Christ (cf. Matthew 1820).
Doubts about our faith
may happen from time to time, whether we are making a
transition to young adulthood, middle age or senior
citizenship. There is nothing wrong with struggling with
doubts, but this is not the time to use those doubts to
give up on Christ and the Church. Instead, God can use
those doubts to draw us closer to Him, helping us to
mature in our faith. The struggle to believe in God is
worth the effort because the lessons that He wishes for
us to learn will lead us into everlasting life.
When we take the risk
to enter into a relationship with Jesus, we know that we
will never be rejected. He has made a commitment to love
us that will never be taken away. That is why faith in
God is a risk that is worth taking.
(This article was
adapted from a homily that was preached by Fr. Harris on
Sunday, August 27, 2000 in the Immaculate Conception
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