Faith does not exempt us from tough times but rather buoys us
by Sister Francis Bangert
"How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you ’Violence’ but you do not intervene. Ruin, misery, destruction, and clamorous discord are before me. Why do you allow suffering and injustice to go on?" (Hab. 1-2)
Do the painful and disturbing questions that the prophet Habakkuk struggled with back in the seventh century BC resonate in your heart today? God spoke to him (and us) in a vision saying that justice would come in its own time but the righteous would live by faith.
To be a faithful disciple of Jesus is to receive words of love, comfort, praise and reward. But it’s also a radical call to bear our share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God. In the face of our ego-driven culture with its hunger for personal reward and the overwhelming local, national and global issues that surround us, we are called to live with a strong faith, enduring patience, and burning charity with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
Luke’s Jesus reminds us that it is our faith that carries us through the tough times. It is faith that will support our everyday living, recognizing that we are only doing what discipleship requires. The vision is clear:
"We walk by faith and not by sight, no gracious words we hear
Of him who spoke as none e’er spoke, but be believe him near.
That when our life of faith is done in realms of clearer light
We may behold you as you are, in full and endless sight.” (We Walk by Faith by Marty Haugen)
- How is your faith nourished? By prayer, the Sacraments, spiritual reading, Bible study, other?
- How is your faith translated into action for justice?
Both of your questions, Fran, are answered in your own words , "..... with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us." Yes, the "burning charity" IS the Holy Spirit .....Where there is Love, there is God. "G O D-is-L O V E."
Love is a Fire .... an Energy .... a Movement. We cannot NOT act for justice, and for healing wounds caused by INjustice and violence, when the Holy Spirit so enflames our hearts and minds, especially with a search for truth, meaning, inspiration and guidance through: e) all of the above: prayer, sacraments, spiritual reading, Bible study, other.
A most important "other" I know to be true, is in connecting with, supporting, and becoming 'community' with other like-minded, like-hearted, like-spirited people, who also are MOVED to act-for-peace (non-violence)-with-justice in these most troubling times. THANK YOU, FRAN! Well-said. :)