In the second reading from 1 Corinthians, St. Paul tells us that the Christian faith is a mature faith. He says that it is full of mystery and hidden, predetermined before all of history. It is my deep belief that those who really engage in their Catholic faith will obtain this maturity. It is hard, and takes a lifetime of living out your faith to really mature. Prayer, the Sacraments, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy – all these are the proving ground for maturing in our faith.
It is hard to unlock the mystery. Faith is not something we can simply will to do. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is one of the three virtues given only the Holy Spirit – faith, hope, and love. Many people have said to me over the years that the Bible made no sense to them until they began to unlock the mystery of faith. Then the Scriptures came alive, and became a great source of nourishing that faith (and hope, and love.)
Christianity is a paradox. It seems counter-intuitive that to give away all that we have and all that we are would leave us in scarcity. But the opposite is true. The Prayer of St. Francis teach us that “it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born again.” Hence the term, “a leap of faith” applies here. It is the risk that brings the reward. Don’t rely on your stuff, rely on God and his generosity.
At the end of this reading, St. Paul tells something most profound: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
God has great and enormous things in store for you if you only love him, things that you can’t even imagine. It is a great journey. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, in our place. But he didn’t stay dead – he rose from the dead. Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection we call “The Paschal Mystery”. All we need do is believe this and we have eternal life.
All the rest are there to help us on this journey. The Sacraments are nothing in themselves except as a source of grace to aide us in becoming more loving, giving, gentle, and kind people. This is a source of grace that increases our faith.
What is your outlook? Do you see the mystery, the paradox? Christianity seems foolish, but is most powerful. The Holy Spirit dwells in all baptized people. We are his temple. We are sons and daughters of God, the Master and King of the Universe. Do we live our lives that way? Or do we cower at the call to sacrifice?
If you are married with children, then you know of this paradox. You know that it is through sacrifice that love is born. It is the mystery of relationship. Like marriage, the Christian faith is hard, and calls us to great feats of courage and sacrifice. To know this, is to get a glimpse of the maturity that is the mystery of faith.