April 4, 2022, 1:00 PM

Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ.  Romans 10:17

I often hear the phrase, “Just have faith,” as though you and I can manufacture faith by simply believing.  As St. Paul in Romans states, “Faith comes from what is heard.”  We don’t get faith by effort.  It’s not something we do.  Faith comes from hearing, and from hearing alone.  

Hearing is a passive event.  Sound comes into our ears without you and I doing anything; so too with faith.  Faith enters our hearts by hearing – hearing the Word of Christ.  Christ places faith in our hearts as we continually hear the Word of God.  This smacks in the face of new age spirituality where followers do not need to hear the Word of God.  “I can do it by myself…I don’t need religion…I don’t need to be caught up in all of that old people’s stuff.”  Sound familiar?  The question still remains, “How do you receive faith without hearing?” 

In spite of St. Francis’ prolonged times listening to nature, he did not avoid hearing the Word of Christ.  He attended to listening and reading the Word on a regular basis.  In time, his faith grew so strong that he could embrace all of creation, even being able to call death his sister. 

Our challenge is to move ourselves out of the center of our own thoughts, and place Christ in the center of our being through hearing alone.  Faith is really trust – absolute trust where we do not attempt to control our destiny.  And, in what do we have faith or trust as followers of Christ?  It’s not in our own decisions and efforts.  And, it really is not in having things turn out well for us. 

Faith is based solely on a promise.  Only faith can hold a promise – a promise that all things are working for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28).  Lent is a journey – a journey of faith that does not occur by simply giving up something.  Lent is hearing and receiving a promise that is being fulfilled in our own existence through Christ.  

May we continue our Lenten journey with listening ears, so that we may be filled with faith to embrace the promises of Christ.

With prayer and encouragement,

Fr. John Meulendyk

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