Faith is a gift meant to be shared. I offer these incidents, seemingly insignificant, which deepened my faith, in the hope that they will do the same for you.
Our parish received a letter of thanks from someone who received assistance through our Christian Service Center. The person was someone with children who had recently moved to Warner Robins on a "wing and a prayer," as they say.
The person wrote the following in response to the assistance they had received. "From the smiles, to the love, meals, clothes, etc., the love/help is very much needed and appreciated."
As the story in the Gospel tells it, out of the 10 people whom Jesus healed, one returned to give thanks, and this one was a Samaritan, (Luke 17:16).
The person's note blessed all who read it and deepened our faith so that we would continue to act out of that faith.
There is a person who suffers constantly from pinched nerves in her back, arms and neck. She was suffering recently when I saw her. I joined her in prayer and we lifted up this illness. She appears to have benefited, at least temporarily, by virtue of our prayer. Her constant pain was abated. The relief was an occasion for both of us to give thanks and praise to God.
Nothing is too trivial to draw the attention of our loving God. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'take heart, my son' ..." (Matthew 9:5). When we act in love, our faith is deepened, (1 Corinthians 13:2).
The third occurrence involved our students at Sacred Heart School on the Feast of St. Blasé. It is tradition on the feast of this bishop and martyr (d. 319) for Catholics to have their throats blessed.
St. Blasé, as legend has it, intervened to save a young boy who was choking from a fish bone in his throat. I went into school to bless the throats of our students. Many of the younger students had been studying the life and legend of St. Blasé. When asked, they were eager to tell me all about this saint who died for his faith.
I was touched by the enthusiasm of these children, who were excited by someone whose life bespoke sacrifice and service. The story of St. Blasé deepened the faith of these children and they, in turn, deepened mine by their sharing.
These everyday occurrences point to the presence and power of God if we have eyes to see. "We walk by faith, not by sight," (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Christians have begun the season of Lent, leading to the celebration of Easter. This is a season of prayer, penance and reflection when faith leads us to the empty tomb. There, in faith, we rejoice to hear, "He is not here. He is risen!" (Matthew 28:6).
We see him risen, as I have tried to indicate, in the ordinary moments of life. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen," (Hebrews 11:1).
The Rev. Fred Nijem is pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Warner Robins.