We live in a world of prove it. Pics or it didn't happen. A society that demands to see it with their own eyes. It is all in the proof. But faith is not about proof. At its core, beginning in the Old Testament, faith is an attitude of trustfulness in God. We witness it through a trust in God's promises. Abraham, Isaac, and others make important decisions in light of the covenants God had made with them. As the Old Testament progresses, trust and belief walk hand in hand.
For us, this means that to have true faith, we need to believe in God and trust in God's promises. What is interesting about these two concepts is that they are actions; clear decisions that we make that leads us to faith in God. But what does that look like in real life?
It looks like a deep belief in the Creed we profess each Sunday. It means choosing to believe in God and what God has done, even on the days we doubt. Some of the best and brightest of God's servants struggle with a deep darkness that tempts them to fall away from God. St. Mother Teresa went through several periods like this, but she chose to intentionally seek God and continue to pray in spite of a lack of proof.
And woven within that is a trust in what God has promised. Even on her darkest days, St. Mother Teresa prayed and pursued God, with utter confidence in God's promises of love and mercy. St. Sr. Faustina confidently pursued what God had asked her to do, to share about Divine Mercy, because she trusted in what God had told her.
To abstain from a need for proof is really to choose to believe and trust, which is what leads to a true faith.
Want a better understanding of what we believe?
I wanted to pause our Lenten season to celebrate this holy man who dropped everything to follow a radical man. Today is the feast of the chair of St. Peter the Apostle. One of my favorite Gospel readings is all about him and his name change (you can read about it here). St. Peter is the man who would go from being a local fisherman to the first man to lead the Church after Jesus' Ascension. He was our first Pope. St. Peter was willing to abandon everything he had ever known, give up the society he had been raised in, and even walk on water to be closer to God's Son. He would eventually die for Christ's Church.
Saints have two main purposes in the Church. First, they pray for us in Heaven. Secondly, their lives on earth are a model and inspiration for us to follow and strive to do better. Peter's life teaches us three primary thing about being a follower of Christ.
1.) You don't have to be perfect to follow Christ
We are going to be hearing this story about a month, but Peter is the Apostle who denies Jesus three times before He is crucified. Jesus knew that Peter would make mistakes but He still loved Peter and chose him to be the rock of the Church. Peter's story is reminder that Jesus does not ask for perfection, but for a willingness to try to do better again and again.
2.) No prior education required
St. Peter was a fisherman before he became one of the twelve. It is unlikely that he knew how read or write well. He was not an expert on the Jewish religion. None of that mattered to Christ. All Jesus wanted was someone who was willing to listen, ask questions, and learn. We don't need to be experts about our faith. We don't need a degree in theology or to deep-dive into St. Augustine. We just need to be open to God's Word through God's Son.
3.) We will be changed for the better
After inviting Jesus into our lives and learning from Him, we are going to be changed. We will no longer be of this world, but citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom. We will go from men and women afraid to step out into uncertain waters to those who walk fearlessly on the waves, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ rather than the turbulence below us.
St. Peter the Apostle, pray for us, that we may be more like you and follow Jesus out onto the water.