Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Trust in Christ

Recently, a blogger wrote a deep couple of questions: "My question is how does totally surrender to God really letting go? I know its all about faith but how do we build that and not have it shatter in our face the moment something goes wrong? Please answer this-this is really important for my spiritual life."

Regarding total surrender to God, please keep in mind what Jesus says about giving up everything for God and his kingdom. For example, he tells the parable of the person who finds a great treasure (which represents the kingdom of heaven) buried in a field, and "out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field" (Mt 13:44). While it is not always easy, it should bring us great joy to give up everything for the kingdom of God. It the greatest treasure on earth.

We don't build up our own faith; Christ does. He nourishes faith through us. Again using a parable, we look at the mustard seed (Mt 13:31-32). The mustard seed cannot grow on its own. With the help of water, the Sun, and air, it "becomes a large bush, and the 'birds of the sky come to dwell on its branches'". Our faith cannot grow on its own. With the help of the water of Baptism, the Body and Blood of the Son, and the air of the Holy Spirit, our faith can grow large enough to move mountains (see Mt 21:21).

With this in mind, then, I would suggest three ways** to allow Christ to build up your faith:

1) Open yourself to his Grace
Our job as believers is to be open to Christ and his Grace. If we remain open, he will give us faith that won't shatter when times get tough. He will bring us closer to Himself, the Prince of Peace. He is the One we need when life gets rough. His Grace will get us through whatever curveballs life throws us: "if God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31).

2) Frequent the sacraments
The sacraments are where we receive Sanctifying Grace (the life of God dwelling within us)...where we receive faith. Faith is given in Baptism, nourished by the Eucharist, sealed in Confirmation, restored in Confession, etc. Daily Mass (whenever possible) and monthly Confession are highly recommended for those who wish to go deeper in their relationship with Christ.

3) Pray your tail off
Talk every day to Christ, preferably in his Real Presence in the Eucharist (in a Church or chapel where the Blessed Sacrament dwells). Read Scripture every day (one chapter of the Gospel a night works for many folks), pray the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, etc. Just as a disciplined athlete exercises every day, so we should work out every day spiritually (see 1 Cor 9:24-27).

Finally, to be a real believer is to trust in Christ. "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust" (Mk 5:36). If I totally surrender to Christ, I give him my life...I give him my love...my problems...my fears... my worries. "Do not worry about your life...your Father knows (the things) that you need" (Lk 12:22,30).
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** Are there other ways that Christ builds up our faith?
Other Scriptural passages/quotes that speak of this?

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