Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brother. – Martin Luther
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Brothers, I myself was unable to speak to you as people of the Spirit: I treated you as sensual men, still infants in Christ. When I fed you with was milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it; and indeed, you are still not ready for it since you are still un-spiritual. Isn’t that obvious from all the jealousy and wrangling that there is among you, from the way that you go on behaving like ordinary people? What could be more unspiritual than your slogans, “I am for Paul” and “I am for Apollos”?
After all, what is Apollos and what is Paul? They are servants who brought the faith to you. Even the different ways in which they brought it were assigned to them by the Lord. I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God made things grow. Neither the planter nor the waterer matters: only god, who makes things grow. It is all one who does the planting and who does the watering, and each will duly be paid according to his share in the work. We are fellow workers with God; you are God’s farm, God’s building.
Over the past week, we have seen throngs of people flock to Novena Church for Our Lady’s Procession, and its related sessions, concluding with last night’s Night of Prayer for World Peace. It is amazing the number of people who come for this every year, and as someone remarked to me last night, “Never once, in all these years, has it rained during the procession.” That is definitely something remarkable, to be sure.
What is more remarkable is the faith of these people. Last night, I realised that there are at least two types of Catholics – those whose faith come from the heads, and those whose faith come from the hearts. What is the difference?
Those whose faith come from the heads are those who like to attend courses, bible studies, seminars, workshops, conferences, etc. When asked about why they are a Catholic, and why they go for such sessions, their responses are usually very detailed and precise.
But there is this whole other group of Catholics whose form the bulk of people who attend the weekly Novenas, who pray the Rosary daily, and consistently and regularly attend devotions such as those to the Divine Mercy, Sacred Heart, and often ask for saints to intercede for them and for others. This is no small group either, but when asked why they come for these sessions, their responses are usually vague and similar: “I love the Lord”, “I want to give thanks to God”, “This is my religion”, etc, without much details.
It’s not that these heart-faith people are any less inspired by God; they are just unable to express their faith in words, so they express it in their actions through such devotions.
It is good to go for these devotions to express one’s faith, but to say that Catholics who do not pray the Rosary or the Divine Mercy regularly, or attend Novena sessions, are weak in their faith betrays a lack of charity and love of neighbour, as well as an appreciation of God’s love for each.
Similarly, it is good to try to expand one’s own horizons and learn more about one’s faith, but to say that those who do not seem to want to learn more about their faith and are content to listen and obey the priests, are being complacent betrays an equal lack of charity, and presumes knowledge of another person’s heart which only God knows.
For we are one in Christ, having different gifts and place in the same body. All are working to build up the kingdom of God in their own special way as ordained by God. Let us pray today, for Catholics all over to be more understanding of their brothers and sisters, encouraging them on in their own journey of faith, rather than convincing them to walk our own road instead.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: The unseen millions around the world who pray everyday for us.
Thu, 7 Sep – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23; Luke 5:1-11
Fri, 8 Sep – Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23; Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sat, 9 Sep – 1 Corinthians 4:6b-15; Luke 6:1-5; Memorial for Bl. Peter Claver, priest
Sun, 10 Sep – Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37; 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.