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How can I grow stronger in faith?

Faith, as we know, is a gift from God. This does not mean faith is entirely up to God, however. There is much we can do to dispose ourselves to receive the gift of faith and to grow in that gift.

First of all, let us define faith. In the Letter to the Hebrews, we read: "Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see." In other words, faith is the acceptance and assurance that God's word is true because it is God's word. And faith is believing that God Himself is true because He is God. Such faith makes it possible for us to experience God; indeed, without faith, it is impossible to know and accept God.

Is it possible to be a person of faith and still be rational, or does faith require that one deny worldly truths?

The Church has a long history of reflection upon faith. It is the task of theology to apply human reason to faith-related issues. This has been more difficult than ever during the past century, when science has raised serious questions concerning age-old dogmas and theologies. Nevertheless, the Church persists in her affirmation that faith and reason are not at odds with one another. Recall that Jesus told us that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that His spirit would lead us into the fullness of truth. It follows from this that wherever truth may be found -- whether it be revealed truth from God or a truth discovered by scientists -- there need be no conflict. Therefore, it is inappropriate to promote faith by denying any kind of scientific truth.

Growing in faith is possible for those who are willing to do the following:

First -- Spend time each day in prayer. Spend time in reading the Scriptures and reflecting upon the meaning of God's word. It takes a certain amount of faith just simply to make time for God, believing that this time will not be wasted. God will honor this exercise of faith by making His home more fully within us. A commitment to daily prayer is probably the most powerful means of growing in faith. Where there is no prayer, faith will surely be weakened.

Second -- Scriptural reading is also important. Reading good religious books, inspirational literature and using Scripture study guides for reading the Bible can help to broaden our horizons and deepen our faith convictions.

Third -- Receiving the sacraments will deepen faith, for in the sacraments we encounter the Christ in whom we believe in a special way.

Fourth -- Sharing our faith with others is one of the best ways to grow in faith. An old saying has it that you can't give what you don't share. It is in sharing our faith with others -- especially with those who are weak in faith -- that the assurance and convictions of faith will grow within us.

And finally, we grow in faith by striving to live a life of love. Through loving as Christ loved, we find confirmation of the truths of Christianity; we learn through first-hand experience that God's word is truth: that in Christ's love is our happiness. Faith, for those who love, becomes a way of life, rather than a mere attitudinal stance. Putting our faith into practice through loving is what the Gospel is all about.

 
 

To obtain a printed copy of the Evangeline Scripts write to:
Evangelization Office
Diocese of Lake Charles
P.O. Box 3223
Lake Charles, La. 70602

Copyright 1991 Diocese of Lake Charles, La.
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
+ Jude Speyrer, S.T.L., D.D.
June 1991
Used with permission