Matthew 7: 21, 24-27
Thursday of the First Week of Advent
I will do one external act of witness to the faith
Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Lord, I come
before you in humility and with a spirit of hope. You no doubt have something to tell me. I approach
you in prayer, confident of your love and trustful of your grace to enable me to carry out whatever
you ask. I offer this prayer for those in my family who might be far away from
Lord, help me deepen my life of faith and charity, to better
prepare for the trials ahead.
1. The Facade:
It is easy to address Jesus as
"Lord, Lord." After all, we know by faith that he is the Son of God. His miracles and the endurance
of his Church attest to his divine nature. Yet, our recognition of his divinity isn’t enough. Our
admission that "Jesus is my savior" won’t guarantee us a place in heaven. Faith in Christ can’t just
remain on our lips; it must penetrate our hearts and minds as well. Faith, then, implies doing the
will of God the Father – in thoughts, words and deeds. How does my faith in Christ translate into
acts? Am I satisfied with saying a few prayers, and little else?
2. Out of
Christ exhorts his disciples to build their faith on rock, not on sentimentality. To
dig a solid foundation of faith takes hard work. It demands constancy in prayer, charity and
generosity. It also requires humility and purity of intention, since the work of preparing a
foundation is not glamorous. There’s nothing particularly beautiful about a big hole in the ground
at a construction site. So it is in the spiritual life, too; digging a foundation forces us to go
deep, to remove our worst faults. The process isn’t pretty. It forces us to face our vices honestly
and to rip away the mask we might wear in front of others. Without this step we risk building our
lives on sand. How well am I digging my foundation?
3. Too Late:
firm when all is calm. Fair weather doesn’t test the strength of a building. The real test comes
when the climate turns nasty. The same occurs in the spiritual life. When serenity reigns around us,
peace blossoms effortlessly. But when a crisis befalls us – a rejection, an illness, a bit of
opposition over a moral matter – that’s when we learn the sturdiness of our faith. Peter, who
boasted that he would stand by Our Lord "though all may have their faith in you shaken" (Matthew
26:33), learned the hard way that his courage wasn’t what he thought it was. He abandoned Christ in
the garden of Gethsemane, as did all the apostles. How well do I face ordinary temptations and
setbacks? How well could I face a serious crisis?
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, I fear sometimes that I’m not much better than Peter,
who bragged that
he would stand by you, but then fled when
the guards arrested you on Holy Thursday night.
I want to
be a true Christian witness in the world, but I need your
overcome my human respect and laziness.
I will do one external
act of witness to the faith.