Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

On a firm foundation

by Bishop Thomas Daly and Mary Quilici Aumack

(From the April 16, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

(Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in the April 14, 2015 edition of The Valley Catholic, published by the Diocese of San Jose. Bishop Thomas Daly, bishop-select of the Spokane Diocese, presently serves as auxiliary bishop of the San Jose Diocese.

The Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County develops, acquires and distributes funds that provide support to parish, educational, religious, charitable and other organizations comprising the Catholic community of the county. The Foundation seeks to increase Catholic philanthropy, matching donor intent with unmet needs, strengthening the Catholic Community through grant making. Mary Quilici Aumack is the Foundation’s Executive Director.)

From Mary:

If you’ve read even a few of my articles, you know that my faith is strong. Until recently I never spent much time thinking about its origins, or about how it grows and is fed. What got me thinking is this question: Why is it that I am blessed with this gift of faith, and the deep joy that accompanies, when others are not?

So, I’ve been exploring, and I asked Bishop Daly to collaborate with me on this quest.

by Bishop Daly and Mary:

Faith is a gift, given to all, although not equally. There is no way to earn it; however, we can definitely nurture it. Everyone has enough faith to be saved; that is what defines a merciful God. This is the beauty and mystery of our faith and the grace that accompanies it. You know the phrase “there but for the grace of God” – a reminder of just how fragile our relationship with God can be, and how easy it is to stray. However, God waits for us. Our faith is enriched as we develop our personal relationship with God, however that is manifest. God is ready and waiting, but leaves it up to us.

“He [Christ] protects their faith and gives strength to believers in proportion to the trust that each man who receives that strength is willing to place in him.”

– St. Cyprian

Remember the story of Jesus and the rich man? This man wanted to do everything he could. When Jesus asked him to give all of his possessions to the poor, he was simply not able to do it. What does this story teach us?

• Jesus loves us and wants the best for us.
• Jesus respects our freedom. The rich man was free to follow his own path.
• Jesus always challenges us.

It is this challenge, and our response, that signifies and deepens our faith. When you have the opportunity to be the Body and Blood of Christ, do it. This could be in the form of outreach, advocacy, or prayer.

Remember that from those to whom much is given, much is expected. We often think of this in material terms. However, it is also true of the gift of faith. When you open your heart and are receptive to this grace, you are given the strength to be a witness.

“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”

– Pope Paul VI

Faith is strengthened and nurtured in community. Also, by the sacraments and our worship experience. Being a Christian can never be a solitary existence. Disciples were sent out “two by two.” We need the community that we call Church, to ground us, to challenge us, to support us.

“Unless we believe and see Jesus in the appearance of bread on the altar, we will not be able to see him in the distressing disguise of the poor.”

– Blessed Mother Teresa

What to do if you yearn for faith but don’t always feel it:

• Simply ask for it, and be open to God’s response.
• Live as if you believe.
• Pray as if you embrace the power of prayer.
• When you have the opportunity to respond with faith, say a simple “yes” that can lead to the larger “yeses.”
• Experience the sacraments. Utilize these critical and ineffably valuable gifts to strengthen your relationship with God. Willingly accept and embrace the gifts.
• Remember that the gift of faith is simply an outpouring of the boundless, unconditional love of our God. Let this love envelop you.

If you are blessed with the gift of faith, evangelize!

Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.

– Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”)

And when your faith is challenged, know that:

• Hardship can also be a gift.
• Perseverance and fidelity are our gifts to God.
• We may think we’re alone; faith assures us we are not.

This we believe:

• Our faith is revealed to us through Scripture and tradition, and is summarized in the Creed.
• Our faith life is enriched through sacraments and liturgy.
• We live our faith through outreach, being the body and blood of Jesus in our world.
• We nurture our faith through humble prayer.
• All is made deeper and more joyful through community.

Therefore, this we do:

• Hold on to our faith.
• Express our faith in worship.
• Live our faith each day.
• Share our Faith with all we meet.

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.

– 1 Peter 3:15

In the end, it’s a mystery. We choose to embrace the mystery, and the gift, to bask in total awe of the Goodness of God.

Girded with faith and the performance of good works, let us follow in his [Jesus’] paths by the guidance of the Gospel.

– St. Benedict

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