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Faith Needs to Grow

  • April 28, 2022 (readings)
  • Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
  • Beth Van de Voorde
  • John 3:31-36

    “The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from Heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” 

    Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, I believe that you desire this time of prayer with me even more than I do. Open my heart to your words: I wish to hear what you have to say to me today. I trust in you and I love you, Lord. Risen Jesus, today make my heart just a little more like yours. 

    Encountering Christ: 

    1. God Made Man: “The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.” (John 3:31) How can we reconcile these words of John’s Gospel with the fact of the Incarnation? Truly, Jesus Christ is the one who has come from above and is above all. And yet he is also the Lord who took on human flesh—like us, in all things but sin (Hebrews 4:15). The Lord’s reference to “earthly things” in this passage are the things that are opposed to the life of the Spirit—the life the God-man came to give. Our Lord illumines the earthliness around us—not because he shunned it, but because he sanctified it. “Christ's whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ's entire life: already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty; in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience; in his word which purifies its hearers; in his healings and exorcisms by which ‘he took our infirmities and bore our diseases’; and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us” (CCC 517).

    2. The Spirit’s Gifts: “The one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.” Let us also read this truth in light of the Incarnation. Jesus, the Son of God, who truly took on our human nature, speaks the words of God to us, but he knows we need his help to understand and internalize them. He, therefore, showers us with gifts of the Spirit so that we can receive all he wants to give. What gifts are those? Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God. “The Gifts are more than a remedy, and they strengthen and confirm us in following the good inspirations and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts bring us to hear and obey God readily, and they make doing his will our supreme delight” (The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.).

    3. Belief in the Son: John’s Gospel reminds us that faith is the pathway to eternal life with God, a life he intensely desires to give us. We begin our journey at Baptism, which is called the doorway sacrament (CCC 1213). The graces we receive through Baptism are kernels that must mature over time as we cooperate with God’s grace. We can lose our faith, as this passage says, by disobeying the Son. But because God is so good, we have the sacrament of Reconciliation to restore us to the right path. God has given us every resource we need to grow in faith—the sacraments, his word, a faith community, and so much more. May we journey unwaveringly toward him on the narrow path with hearts full of gratitude for the graces he gives us along the way.

    Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you came to reveal the face of your Father in your own, and to bring us to share in your life through the Holy Spirit. I believe that you dwell in my soul through Baptism; increase my faith in you. Help me to see how you are inviting me to make this faith real in my life. 

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace when I encounter a moment of difficulty, I will try to pause and make an act of faith, remembering that you are with me and wish to help me. 

    For Further Reflection: You may wish to read further in the Catechism on the grace of Baptism and the importance of the theological virtues, for example, section 1262 and following, or section 1812 and following. 


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