Faith Trilogy – Good News for October 3

3 10 2010

Habakkuk 1

How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

St. Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.

Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

Luke 17:5-6

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

The Daily Path: Today’s readings present a perfect storm of guidelines for maintaining and growing our faith. Friends, regardless of where you find yourself in the spiritual journey, or even if you have unintentionally come upon this posting, keep these passages close. In them I have found the call to greater patience, courage, and understanding of the mystery of God.

Last night, I had the pleasure to witness the grace of God at work. It was a lifetime in the making, but culminated by a group of friends after months of planning. This band of “conspirators” wanted to recognize two individuals in their community (familia) who have embodied all of the calls to faith that were described in today’s trilogy of readings. What I saw last night was a cyclical act of genuine love flowing back to two people who have strived throughout their lives to be sources of God’s great love for us all.

Many months ago I received an e-mail from the conspirators advising me that they planned to take action, and asking for my assistance. Their plan was to pursue formal recognition – in the form of the Diocesan Medal of Honor – for my parents, Herb and Claire, who have gone about the work of Christ in their faith community for some 50 years. The conspirators put together a compelling case for the honor by carefully identifying a body of work that could have filled volumes with incremental acts of selfless giving.

When the case put forth to the Diocese had been reviewed and approved, their pastor informed them of the honor that was to be bestowed on them. Mom and Dad’s immediate response was “We’re not worthy of such an honor. We did so little.” In this I beg to differ, as do the band of conspirators who represent all in the “familia” that is your faith community.

Few have weathered the storms of life with the patience told of by Habakkuk. Few have so courageously answered St. Paul’s call to embody Christ’s teachings and in turn become true teachers of His love. Few have relentlessly asked God for the grace that is faith.

My parents never had the means to write the big checks that build cathedrals or parish centers. But they used their “wealth of willingness and ability” as few have, by bringing friends together to act in love, including the stranger so that they always felt welcome, helping the troubled find forgiveness, and leading people – young, old and indifferent – to Christ. It is an impressive body of work, but to my mom and dad it was just allowing their hearts to remain open to God’s calling for them in this life.

No, Herb and Claire, we all stand behind this conspiracy. You have earned this honor… ten-fold!

Knowing my parents, it was not the gold medal or the accompanying certificate bearing the bishop’s signature that they will cherish most, instead I think it was the mere idea that anyone would want to pursue this honor for them, AND the rousing crescendo of genuine affection that rose up last night from a church full of their fellow parishioners, many of whom have been the recipients of God’s love through His servants, Herb and Claire.

We are all blessed to have them in our lives and thank them for a lifetime of love.