On a scale from one to ten, I ask myself how much do I believe in a loving and forgiving God? Why is it harder some days than others? What can I do to believe even more?
The Gospel reading for the Ascension of the Lord speaks about a mountain top experience for the 11 disciples. They saw Jesus and they worship him even though deep inside, they could not believe. On a scale from one to ten, I ask myself how much do I believe in a loving and forgiving God? Why is it harder some days than others? What can I do to believe even more?
Matthew Kelly, in his book, Rediscover Jesus, says that to know Jesus, we need to spend more time in sincere prayer and learn about him by reading the Gospels. A short read from one of the four Gospels everyday puts us in contact of who Jesus is. I started doing that several months ago, reading a paragraph or two each day, learning all kinds of things about Jesus that I glossed over before. Spending time in reflection not only helps me to know him but to experience him in my daily life. And yet most days when my prayer time is over and I get busy with life duties, I let Jesus behind. And it is at those times when I don’t feel high with Jesus, and my faith falters.
Reading short versions of most of the Doctors of the Church, it was clear to me that dryness of faith was a struggle for most of them. And it goes back to when we were young, we heard that anything worthwhile comes with a struggle. And we can’t forget that faith is a gift from God and the portion we receive is freely given by him. It is up to us to take up the struggle and learn to believe when we can’t believe anymore.
The disciples were on a high, receiving the command from Jesus to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught them to observe all that he commands and reminds them that he is with us until the end of ages.
The real work comes with the struggle to believe when doing what we think Jesus wanted of us has poor results. People do not always want to hear the Good News, and that pulls us down. Pope Francis speaks to us about the joy of the Gospel. Let us turn to the Gospel and find the joy and strength to do his will each day.
Br. Nick Renner, C.PP.S. (Cincinnati)