On the gift Faith
Mother Teresa a women of Faith
St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Heb 11:6).
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ (Phil 1:6).
Mother Teresa's Words:
Recently one great Brazilian man, who had a high position, wrote to me that he had lost total faith in God and in man, and he gave up all—his position and everything, even watching television—and he only wanted to commit suicide. One day, as he was passing by a shop, his eyes suddenly fell on the television and there was the scene of Nirmal Hriday, the sisters looking after the sick and dying. And he wrote to me that after seeing that scene, for the first time after many years, he knelt and prayed. Now he has decided to turn back to God and have faith in humanity because he saw God still loves the world—he saw this on the television.
In all sincerity can I say when they look at me and my work, I show them Jesus, they see Jesus? I remember one day in Nirmal Hriday, there came a man. I was right at the entrance but he didn’t say a word to me. He passed me and went right to the lady’s side and watched a sister—the way she touched that lady, dressed her, combed her hair, fed her, and so on. Then he came back to me and told me, “I came Godless in this house, I am going full of faith. The way that sister touched the people was full of love. Now I know there is a God, there is Jesus.”
The other day a voluntary worker with long hair, like this, was talking to me and he kept on saying, “I don’t believe in God.” So I said to him, “Supposing, just now, as you were talking, you got a heart attack ... can you stop it?” He got such a surprise that he didn’t say that phrase any more. He was beginning to realize that, in the end, no matter how much we talk, we can’t change the time of our death. A few days later I heard that, after a lot of thought, he was beginning to make the reservation that there must be a God, somewhere!
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour (Matthew 8:5-13).
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:5-7).
This morning I received Jesus in Holy Communion, do I think of that during the day? Do I turn to Jesus within me? It is the same Jesus that comes to us—that Jesus about whom we read in the Gospels. That woman just wanted to touch the fringe of his garment and she knew she would be made well. The centurion said: “I do not need to see you . . . speak but the word and my servant will be healed. I am not worthy to have you come to me.” This is the same Jesus who comes to us in Holy Communion. Do I believe it?
Let us remember that Jesus always praised the faith of people – therefore, often during the day we will pray: “Jesus in my heart increase my faith, strengthen my faith.”
How holy we must all try to be—as to be able to be Jesus’ love, compassion and presence to the people and our sisters, so let us deepen our life of prayer, for the fruit of prayer is always [a] deepening of faith and where there is faith there is holiness. For Jesus said, “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.” That is why our work for the poor is so real, so beautiful, because if our heart is pure we can see, we can touch Jesus—24 hours, because He has made it so clear, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren —You—did—it—to—Me.” The Gospel in our five fingers—that is why we need that deep life of prayer—that will help us to grow in that intimate and personal love for Jesus and complete attachment to Him—so that our sisters & our poor can see Jesus in us, His love—His compassion. So, my dearest children, let us ask Our Lady to teach us to pray, to help us to pray.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (1 Thess. 5:8).
Mother Teresa's Words:
I know God loves me. I know what God decides is only what is best for me. Not “I believe” but “I know.” This is something much stronger than “I believe.” I believe God created me, He has redeemed me. If you know you are all right . . . Not enough if you say “I believe”—I know what Jesus taught. I know God has created me for better things. You are more important than that bird, that animal, that flower. I know [that when] I feed the hungry, I feed Him. Faith tells me that what God has said is true and the truth is in fidelity. “You did it to Me.” “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock...” I know—Jesus said so and it must be like that.
Here in the slums, in Nirmal Hriday, in the children, we see Christ in the broken body and we touch Him and that touch comes from that deep faith that Christ cannot deceive. Faith is a gift of God, eh? Without it, there would be no life and our work to be fruitful and to be all for God and beautiful has to be built on that faith. Faith in Christ as He has said, I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick and I was homeless and you did it to me. On this, His words, all our work is based and built on. In these times of development, everybody is in a hurry and everybody’s in a rush but on the way there are always people falling on the two sides – those who are not able. These are the ones that we want to love, serve, and pick up and take care of them. (From Something Beautiful for God)
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" (Mt 14: 22-32).
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you (Lk 17:5-6).
Mother Teresa's Words:
Persuaded of our nothingness and with the blessing of obedience, we attempt all things, doubting nothing, for with God all things are possible (Mk. 10:27).
We will allow the good God to make plans for the future, for yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come and we have only today to make Him known, loved and served.
Let us remember, also, that Jesus cannot deceive us. This is why we must pray, and pray very much, “Lord increase my faith.” Pray everywhere and always. Let our work be a true prayer. Going up and down, studying, sweeping, going along the streets, we must pray and pray sincerely. “Lord, increase my faith, Lord, help my unbelief.” Who will teach you how to pray? The Holy Spirit. Invoke [Him] often, “Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray.” It is through prayer that we get the grace of a deep faith and faith comes through prayer.
By faith I mean conviction: Jesus abides in me; Jesus is in me; God loves me; I am created for greater things; God wants to do great things in me, with me and through me. . . That conviction is my faith. . . If I have faith and I pray, then my love for Christ will be undivided. That undivided love for Christ is the fruit of my prayer.
St Teresa of Calcutta,
you showed us the beauty of a life lived in and for love
and you never stop reminding us that we are all
“created for greater things,
to love and be loved."
Help us to live, like you, a life of love that is worthy of our calling
as children of God. Amen
Where there is doubt, I may bring faith
Christ comes also to us bringing his light, he comes also to us granting peace! But who is watching, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a vigilant, praying heart? Who is waiting for the dawn of the new day, keeping alight the flame of faith? Who has time to listen to his word and to become enfolded and entranced by his love? Yes! His message of peace is for everyone; he comes to offer himself to all people as sure hope for salvation. (Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI Christmas 2007)
The whole faith is contained in this one act of love which embraces God and humanity. Yet now further questions arise: how are we to love God with all our mind, when our intellect can barely reach him? How are we to love him with all our heart and soul, when our heart can only catch a glimpse of him from afar, when there are so many contradictions in the world that would hide his face from us? This is where the two ways in which God has "abbreviated" his Word come together. He is no longer distant. He is no longer unknown. He is no longer beyond the reach of our heart. He has become a child for us, and in so doing he has dispelled all doubt. (HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI at the Midnigth Mass Sunday, 24 December 2006)
Let us go to the heart of the matter: faith cannot survive unless it is nourished, unless it is “formed by charity” (cf. Gal 5:6). Do people today find it difficult to encounter God in our Churches? Has our preaching lost its salt? Might it be that many people have forgotten, or never really learned, how to pray in and with the Church? … Christian faith, as we know, is essentially ecclesial, and without a living bond to the community, the individual’s faith will never grow to maturity. ( HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI at the Midnigth Mass Sunday, 24 December 2006)
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