Day 20: Stepping in Faith (142-149)
You might have noticed we are in a new chapter!!
Chapter 3: Man’s Response to God
The last few days we have gone through the Revelation
God revealed Himself to us not just so we can be AWARE of Him
God revealed Himself to us so that we can RESPOND to Him
God revealed Himself to us so that we can HAVE A RELATIONSHIP with Him
Fr. Mike often comes back to these paragraphs when teaching his students
There are 8 of them (Math isn’t Fr. Mike’s strong suit 😉)
So what is FAITH AT ITS HEART?
Is Faith more than INTELLECTUAL ASSENT?
Is Faith more than just A FEELING OF TRUST?
We are going to hear what Faith is
We are also going to look at some characters from Scripture, our FAMILY that God has assembled
We will look at Abraham, the father of our Faith
We will also look at Mary
Just as Abraham is the father of all who believe, Mary most perfectly embodies the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH
So let’s ask the Lord to GUIDE US!!
Let’s ask the Lord to HELP US!!
Let’s ask the Lord to BLESS THIS TIME TOGETHER!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in heaven we know that you have revealed yourself to us. And we know that you're calling us into a relationship with you. We know that you're calling us to respond to your Revelation. As you have revealed your heart you're calling us to respond by trusting you. You're calling us to respond by doing your will. You're calling us to respond by placing our faith in you and everything you've done, and everything you've promised. And we do that by conforming our will to yours. We can only do that by the power of your Holy Spirit. None of us can do that on our own, on our own strength, on our own goodness, on our own merits. We don't have any to offer. But only by your spirit, only by the power of your grace and your goodness. So please, Lord God, send us your grace. Send us your holy spirit so that we can respond as you're calling us to. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen”
Paragraph 142 sums up what we have been reading so ar
“By his Revelation, ‘the invisible God, from the fullness of His love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.’ The adequate response to this invitation is faith.”
Remember, Jesus fulfills this in His WORDS AND DEEDS
OH MY GOSH!!
We can HEAR about God
There is a difference between BELIEVING IN GOD and BELIEVING GOD
Yeah we can believe that God exists
We can believe that God has revealed Himself
We can believe all the articles of Faith
BELIEVING GOD DOES SOMETHING ELSE!!
It implies some kind of RELATIONSHIP
It implies some kind of ACTION
Paragraph 143 says, “By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer.”
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!
Dr. Peter Kreeft wrote a book back in the day where he talked about LEVELS OF FAITH
The first level of faith is INTELLECTUAL FAITH
“I know that this is true.”
“I give my assent to it.”
“I acknowledge that God exists.”
This doesn’t have to change ANYTHING in our lives
James 2:19, “You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.”
So yeah we believe God exists
We may even go on to say that Jesus Himself is God
Think about this…
How many times did Jesus do an exorcism?
The demons even said, “I know who you are! You are the Holy One of God.”
The demons KNEW THE TRUTH
You could even say the demons HAD FAITH
That was an INTELLECTUAL ASSENT
That was an INTELLECTUAL BELIEF
It did NOTHING to reorient their lives
We know that SAVING FAITH IS NOT MERELY INTELLECTUAL FAITH
“Oh no, I say that Jesus is Lord.”
“I acknowledge that God exists.”
St. James even says, “Even the demons believe that and they tremble.”
So that’s NOT GOOD ENOUGH
We have another level of EMOTIONAL FAITH
“I have a FEELING OF TRUST.”
It’s not a BAD thing
It is a GREAT thing
To have a feeling of trust is WONDERFUL
THAT IS STILL LIMITED!!
We have VOLITIONAL FAITH
“I submit my intellect and my will to God.”
This is much more core to SAVING FAITH
Paragraph 143 says, “By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.”
“God, you have my WHOLE BEING. What I know, what I think (INTELLECT), and also what I choose (WILL). I am submitting that to you and to YOUR WILL.”
The next line is SO SO IMPORTANT…
“With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer.”
This cannot be overstated
SAVING FAITH IS NOT MERELY A MATTER OF BELIEF!!
SAVING FAITH HAS TO BE LIVED OUT IN OUR ACTIONS AND IN OUR CHOICES!!
Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord! Lord!’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But only the ones who do the will of my Father in Heaven.”
We can acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and STILL NOT BE SAVED!!
STILL BE LOST!!
BECAUSE THAT IS NOT FAITH!!
FAITH IS WHEN WE DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER IN HEAVEN!!
We submit our WHOLE BEING
TO GOD THE REVEALER!!
THERE IS NO WAY TO OVEREMPHASIZE THIS!!
THIS IS SO VITAL!!
Paragraph 140 says, “To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to ‘hear or listen to’) in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself.”
We are going to submit to the TRUTH THAT HAS BEEN HEARD
Now this part of the HARD PART
The next examples given are Abraham, Sara, and Mary
We know they were given a PART of a word
They were all given SOMETHING BUT NOT EVERYTHING
Abraham has just been called
He doesn’t know WHO the Lord God is
There is no Sacred Tradition yet
There is no Sacred Scripture yet
This is simply God calling Abraham and his wife Sara out of their homeland from their extended family to go to a new place because GOD HAD A PROMISE
God did not tell them ALL THAT WOULD HAPPEN
THIS IS CRAZY!!
BUT THIS IS LIFE!!
This is one of the reason it is called FAITH
GOD GIVES US JUST ENOUGH LIGHT FOR THE NEXT STEP!! (This is so true!! Wow what a lesson to learn! My life is the total embodiment of this statement, how about yours? 🤯)
Paragraph 145 says, “By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land.”
Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.”
He only knew that he had to go
He didn’t know WHERE he was to go
THAT IS BONKERS!!
THAT IS LIFE!!
THAT IS US!!
That is one of the reasons why WE ARE CALLED TO WALK IN FAITH
That is NOT the same thing as WALKING IN BLIND FAITH
It is ONLY ENOUGH LIGHT TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Mary is used as an example in Paragraphs 148-149
Think about her story
The archangel Gabriel comes to Mary and reveals PART of God’s plan
“Hail full of Grace.”
“Hail, favored one. Blessed are you amongst women.”
“Basically, here is God’s plan. You will conceive and bear a son.”
Mary has a clarifying question, “How can I do this? I have had no relations with a man.”
Gabriel answers, “The power of the Most High will come upon you. The Holy Spirit will overshadow you. The child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God.”
And Mary says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.”
Did you realize that the archangel Gabriel DID NOT GIVE MARY THE WHOLE PLAN?
He only gave her the PLAN OF THE NEXT STEP
THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL OVERSHADOW YOU AS THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES UPON YOU AND YOU WILL CONCEIVE IN YOUR WOMB AND BEAR A SON
THAT SON WILL BE GREAT
HE WILL BE THE SON OF THE MOST HIGH GOD
HE WILL BE THE MESSIAH
THAT IS ALL SHE GOT!!
SHE GOT NO MORE NEWS!!
NO MORE INFORMATION!!
So to WALK IN FAITH is not to be BLIND
It is also not to have TELESCOPIC VISION
It’s not to walk blind with no idea WHERE to go
It’s also not to have a CLEAR MAP
Abraham left NOT KNOWING WHERE HE WAS TO GO
Mary said yes NOT KNOWING WHERE THAT WAS TO LEAD
Sara received that son, Isaac
THEY DID ALL OF THIS IN FAITH!!
NOT JUST IN THEIR HEADS!!
NOT JUST INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE!!
COMPLETELY SUBMITTING THEIR INTELLECT AND THEIR WILL
WITH THEIR WHOLE BEING WE GIVE ASSENT TO GOD THE REVEALER
In order for us to have a RESPONSE, God HAS TO REVEAL
THAT IS WHY IT IS NOT BLIND FAITH!!
The problem is that He doesn’t reveal the ENTIRE THING
Because of that, we need Him for THIS STEP
AND WE NEED HIM FOR THE NEXT STEP
AND WE NEED HIM FOR THE STEP AFTER THAT!!
THAT IS SO SO IMPORTANT!!
That is why we are reminded of people like Abraham, our father in faith
We are reminded of people like Mary, who perfectly embodies the obedience of faith
Because we are being called to walk in the SAME WAY THAT THEY WERE CALLED TO WALK
MAN OH MAN!!
WE ARE NOT ALONE!!
WE CANNOT BE ALONE!!
WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE!!
WE NEED PRAYERS!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE*
* unless otherwise marked by (D-R) for Douay Rheims
CCC 142 "By his Revelation, "the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company." The adequate response to this invitation is faith.
"He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation"
"Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend."
"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you."
Baruch 3:38 (D-R):
"Afterwards he was seen upon earth, and conversed with men."
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God"
CCC 143 "By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, "the obedience of faith".
"Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;"
"Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith"
CCC 144 "To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself.
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.”
CCC 145 "The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel's ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham's faith: "By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go." By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land. By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice.
"Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him"
"The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac."
Genesis 22:1–3, 10-12
"After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac…
Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
"Sarah lived a hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and said to the Hittites, “I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” The Hittites answered Abraham, “Hear us, my lord; you are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our sepulchres; none of us will withhold from you his sepulchre, or hinder you from burying your dead.” Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land.
CCC 146 "Abraham thus fulfills the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen": "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Because he was "strong in his faith", Abraham became the "father of all who believe".
"After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness."
CCC 147 "The Old Testament is rich in witnesses to this faith. The Letter to the Hebrews proclaims its eulogy of the exemplary faith of the ancestors who "received divine approval". Yet "God had foreseen something better for us": the grace of believing in his Son Jesus, "the pioneer and perfecter of our faith".
"And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
CCC 148 "The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that "with God nothing will be impossible" and so giving her assent: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." Elizabeth greeted her: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed."
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will
overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her."
"and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."
CCC 149 "Throughout her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary's faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God's word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.
"And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”