VINNIES VIEW by Brian Moore
THE definition of the word faith is a belief without evidence.
Faith is a confidence or trust in something that may not be seen.
The root or foundation of our Catholic faith is the death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Someone once asked great British preacher C.H. Spurgeon if he could put in a few words what his Christian faith was all about.
He replied, “I will put it in four words for you, Christ died for me.”
The Christian life is intended to be a relationship and a partnership with God as He impacts other people through every aspect of our lives.
In Hebrews 11:6 we read: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “that the grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ and through Baptism”.
This enables us to have faith in God and to live in peace with Him through our love for Jesus Christ.
It is fascinating to note how a small seed can grow into something larger. Our faith is like a seed.
As we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God our faith will increase.
Its growth relies upon our keeping the Lord’s commandments and to live by Gospel values.
Some years ago I read a story written by John Bisagno who said, “Faith is the heart of life. You go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce … he gives you a prescription you cannot read … you take it to a pharmacist you don’t know … he gives you medication you don’t understand – and you take it. That’s faith.”
When we really think about it, unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God, but faith puts God between us and our circumstances.
In other words who would not wish to have the Creator of the universe helping them.
The calling that God has placed on all of us as believers is not primarily about going to church but being the Church.
When we reach this point of spiritual integration it all becomes about Him and no longer about me.
Forgiveness, mercy and compassion, and good works are at the heart of a true Christian religion.
Without these all the rest is a heartless and empty performance.
Finally, “Do others see us as truly following Jesus Christ?”
Many Christians have their hands full trying to evangelise the third world, the Middle East, China and some other countries.
That’s not to mention trying to re-evangelise generations of Australians, Europeans and Americans who have gone the way of aggressive secularism.
More and more, the dogmas and truth of our Catholic faith are being watered down and our society is telling us that the most important thing is only to feel good.
So the existence of hell has become an inconvenience for the 21st century man.
Sharing Jesusí love
That is where our evangelistic efforts lay, that is where they have always been, and they will continue to be our focus as Catholic Christians – sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
In choosing to live by the Gospel, we too run the risk of being misunderstood and ridiculed.
I am of the opinion that the challenge facing Catholics today, in the face of an increasingly hostile public opinion, is to remain firm in the faith.
More than ever Catholics need to stand together, find strength in their common loyalty to the Magisterium and in Our Lord, Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Gospels.
After almost 2000 years, little has changed.
In many ways we as members of the Christian family are still a sign of contradiction in the world with the culture not being friendly to our faith.
Thankfully the Church is still the Rock.
I note with a touch of sadness that in the past 40 years or so, many Christians are abandoning their faith in God and the Church along with their commitment to reason, and are attempting to live a life of political correctness which is a shaky foundation on which to build the future.
They appear to have put their faith and trust in political and cultural leaders who are determined to turn our country into something it was never meant to be.
I read recently that “When we divorce our politics from a grounding in virtue and truth, we transform our country from a living moral organism into a kind of golem of legal machinery without a soul.
“Our Christian survival will depend on faith-filled people of conviction, fighting for what they believe in legally, peacefully, zealously and without apologies.
“This includes all of us.
“Otherwise, we should be asking ourselves, ‘Do we really believe what we claim to believe’?”
Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ faced opposition with determination and courage.
By His grace may we too follow Him resolutely especially when opposition comes from those near and dear to us.
If we as Catholics could simply rediscover our tradition, and live according to Gospel values, then we can be assured, that with the assistance of the Holy Spirit many will convert and reconvert to embrace the Catholic faith and we will be surprised just how many.
If we desire a culture of religious freedom, we need to begin here, now.
We live it by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ by loving God with passion and joy, confidence and courage, and by holding nothing back.
God will take care of the rest.
Scripture says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain”. (Psalm 127:1)
In the end, God is the builder; we are the living stones.
The firmer our faith, the deeper our love, the purer our zeal for God’s will.
“If anything is going to turn the present situation around, it is a revival of Christian faith which in that context means almost certainly a revival of our Catholic faith.”
Brian Moore is the former state president of the Queensland St Vincent de Paul Society.