Lord, Increase Our Faith!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve encountered many Catholics who have approached me as a seminarian asking for my thoughts on the SCOTUS ruling on Same-Sex “Marriage”. Most of them are looking for a word of consolation. And on my part, I understand. It is disheartening to see the nation that I love and grew up in continue down this dark and evil path of corrupting marriage and the family—all in the name of a counterfeit “love.” But when I talk to these people who come seeking a word of encouragement, I’ve come to realize, left to my own devices, I have no word to offer. The only word I can offer is the Word of God, and that’s big: the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes it can feel we Christians go around adopting a mentality of a sort of “Bad News”: the world is falling apart, sin is taking a deeper hold of our culture and our communities, dysfunction is all around us (and if we are honest, even within us). But of course the simple truth is that “the world” is falling apart, sin is tearing apart that original harmony of God’s created order. The world is the devil’s playground. Not the world as creation, because that is good as we hear in the Scriptures. But the spirit of the world is under the control of the evil one.

But as Christians—that is as bearers of Christ—we are called to proclaim the Good News. And it is times like these we should rejoice, because in the midst of a twisted and deprived generation, we are called to be children of the light, St. Paul says. And while we too are sinners, we have found refuge in the merciful embrace of our Heavenly Father.

At the heart of the Good News is “that God works out all things for the good of those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28) And the foundation for this truth of our Holy Catholic faith is found in the Cross & Resurrection of Jesus Christ. God drew the greatest good—our salvation, from the greatest evil—man putting the God-Man to death. Love does indeed win so the Cross proclaims. And God continues to draw good from evil. St. Paul says that “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.” (Romans 5:20) We must live in a grace filled age, because sin is abundant!

Faith is needed to believe this. But we do not create faith. Faith is a gift from God. We must ask for it.  And faith is at the center of the proclamation of the Good News. “For man believes in his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.” (Romans 10:10) Cultivating faith is at the heart of evangelization. What miracles Jesus was able to do with people of faith. And he was amazed by other’s lack of faith. If we are going to be missionary disciples, as Pope Francis keeps calling us to be, if we are going to be missionaries of joy, than we must lead our evangelization efforts with this proclamation, first being people of deep faith, and then collaborating with the Holy Spirit in inspiring the gift of faith in those around us.

All of us need to ask the Lord for more faith. We can never have enough. We must beg for faith. And I mean beg! Whenever we begin to become discouraged, to complain or whine, we must cry out for the gift of faith! I think we can learn a little from children when it comes to begging for faith, because so often, as adults, begging is seen as inappropriate for an adult. Think of how a child can throw a tantrum for some candy at the store. The child screams, and cries, demanding to get what it wants. Now this image, when translated to our spiritual lives can only go so far: but perhaps we should throw a tantrum in our payers, making a ruckus as we cry out to the Lord for faith.

As a priest friend of mine preached recently on this SCOTUS ruling:

At the end of the day, God is love. As our loves are truly ordered to him, we enter into the life and love of God. There is happiness. There is joy. There we come fully alive. To borrow a slogan from the last few weeks: ‘Love wins’, yes; but, only if it is God’s love.

Lord, we believe you are love, and have truly already won the victory: Increase our faith, that we might be bearers of the Good News!