It is essential to understand the Church’s teaching about faith to help us appreciate Abraham’s faith in God. He is credited as being righteous, as we heard in the first reading. Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by Him (CCC 153). The exercise of faith is through God’s help and grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, faith is a human act. In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace to assent to divine truths and revelations. Thus we believe in God and His Incarnate Word. We believe in God’s revelations, His teachings, and His words, not as a blind impulse of the mind but as a conscious undertaking of our lives. Such was the situation with Abraham.
THE IMPACT OF FAITH
In the first reading, St. Paul talked about Abraham’s faith and belief in God, which was credited to him as righteousness. We should recall that Paul was citing the experience of Abraham, who showed great trust in God even when the object of his trust seemed impossible, as recorded in Genesis 15. Though Abraham was childless, he still believed and trusted God, who told him that his descendants would be as countless as the stars in the sky (Gen. 15:1-6). Our mother, Blessed Virgin Mary, manifested a similar faith experience in her obedience to the annunciation message.
As Christians, we are people of faith. The object of our faith is often so challenging, seems impossible and unreal, and sometimes, it is not easy to comprehend with human reasoning. Most times, the teachings we are called to believe, as a show of our faith, may not add up as in mathematical accuracy and exactness, but we are still expected to give our assent of faith. In line with this, the Church reminds us, “What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived” (CCC 156). Such a manifestation of our faith in God despite the challenges of faith will positively impact our relationship with God and be credited to us as righteousness as was Abraham’s.
OUR SAINT OF THE DAY
The day’s reflection will not be complete without mentioning and learning from our saint of the day, St. Teresa of Jesus. She was a mystic, a courageous reformer, and a contemplative who believed strongly in the power of prayers. Through her writings, Teresa taught the world the importance of prayer, especially mental prayer. According to her, “prayer is the doorway to great graces.” If this door is closed, she said, “I do not see how God can bestow any graces.” Prayer establishes a relationship with God and us and encourages a desire to continue to love Him. According to St. Teresa, mental prayer is nothing more than an intimate sharing between friends; it means frequently taking time to be alone with him, who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much, but to love much, and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but a desire to please God in everything. She is a distinguished role model for us all, in our way to perfection. Let us follow in her footsteps, become prayerful, remain committed and firm in the faith, and ardent in our love of God.
Always remember that Jesus loves you!