For some days now we’ve been hearing Paul teach about faith. In the strongest of terms (you stupid Galatians!) he wanted the Galatians to know that they received the Spirit and salvation itself through faith. Today he emphasized that faith is the way we must live our everyday life. "The just shall live by faith." (Hab. 2:4)
The virtue of faith is both a gift from God as well as our responsibility to choose it and exercise it daily. Faith is a positive energizing force within each of us. Abraham, whom Paul alluded to, was a wandering Aramean, our ancestor in faith. So too, we must "walk by faith, and not by sight." There is a difference between a journey and a pilgrimage. One is movement through life. A pilgrimage is travelling by faith.
As you read this today, I am off on another mission, another pilgrimage of faith in my life’s journey. I’m flying to Pittsburgh and a parish mission in Glenshaw, PA. I will encounter people whom I’ve never met, new situations and various challenging circumstances. I am required to meet all of these in faith. Whether I write books, create talks, TV or radio programs, I must initiate and establish them by faith. The just shall live by their faith. God doesn’t require that we be perfect humans, but that we live by faith.
Faith is adherence to and confidence in God. It is written that without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Faith is not so much believing that God exists, or course God does, but having confidence that he is with us and at work in our daily life.) Whenever I start any project or depart on any mission, I have confidence that God goes before me and will see me through victoriously. Faith opens doors for God’s wonder-working power to manifest itself. (Read the testimonies of Hebrews chapter 11.)
Once Paul the apostle was in a mighty storm and all hope was lost. His response? "I have faith in God." (Acts 27:25) Radical dependence in God is a must for our daily ordinary journey, but especially when we encounter misfortunes, sufferings and storms. Whatever opportunity, difficulty or trial you are facing right now, have faith in God. God will open a door. God will take you through. God will make a way. Our lives are in the gracious hands of our heavenly Father who always has our best interest in mind. Our responsibility is to exercise the gift of faith given us by thanking God beforehand and speaking positive realities out of our mouth. Praying, speaking positives and thanking God is how we exercise and "release" our faith.
The just shall live by their faith. This is the New Testament notion of discipleship. Give God something to work with! In your pilgrimage, exercise your faith, no matter what you are facing right now.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 14 books and creator of television and radio programs airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/