If you are a person who places their whole Faith in Faith, you will not want to read the rest of this.
Like everything is the spiritual universe, nothing is what it seems. Not only is everything a sign of contradiction, but much of it does not make sense without Faith. There are so many layers of meaning to even the most familiar of ideas that we often don’t even try to grow deeper to discover a much richer meaning or treasure contained. I try to think of everything around me in multiple layers of meaning.
When I was Baptised, on September 29, 1940, I don’t remember a thing. It was a time when God accepted me as an adopted son and made we an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven. Every day, since I can remember, I have tried to offer a Morning Prayer to the Father to ratify the Baptismal initiation with water. One of the things I learned about Faith later on was that I was not only baptized with water but also immersed into the Faith of Mother Church were I was, and still am, nourished with life-giving love. Faith is so important to what we believe, yet some do not plunge beneath its surface to ask, “Is that all there is?” Is there something greater than Faith? Faith is what we receive at Baptism, Faith that takes away the sin of the World (Original Sin) while the effects still remain. Faith is fidelity to the Word even when we don’t see the object of our belief. Faith does not come from humans but only from God. It the the Faith that overshadowed Mary, the Faith that descended upon the Apostles in the Upper Room, the same Faith that dwells in our hearts. Jesus told Thomas that “blessed are those who have not seen, yet believed.” Faith is God’s energy, a gift not one of us deserves, a gift given to us by Christ to wash away our iniquities, one that makes Heaven our inheritance. What can be better than Faith? In the readings from Scripture today we read how Faith healed the woman. It is peculiarly interesting because Jesus said her Faith saved her, not Christ. Christ is the great enabler, and with baptism, invites us to join him in this endeavor.
While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”
And from that hour the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land.
What is this Faith that Scriptures talks about? If Faith is a gift from God that we use not only at Baptism but throughout our life, then belief is the action that makes it real.
In looking at Cistercian spirituality, based on the little I know so far, it is about seeking God where you are. Faith enables us to search our minds and our hearts for God and to approach that God in humility and obedience to God’s will not our own. That is called conversion of lifestyle and it must happen every day because we live every day.
What is greater than Faith? It is Love. But not just any Love. This is the Love taught to us by Christ, the love that conquers the World, the love that is one with Faith and Hope. Read what St. Paul has to say about Faith and Love. Love is not better than Faith. It is a direct result of the covenant relationship between God and Humans. It is the product that comes when we take Christ into our hearts. Faith, Hope, and Love. The three of these are one, inseparable from each other.
1 Corinthians 13 (NRSVCE)
The Gift of Love 13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.