As we get closer and closer to the end of the “year of Faith,” the request of the apostles we hear in today’s Gospel – “Increase our faith” – still echoes in all its relevance; perhaps now more than ever. We live in a world where proclaiming any form of faith requires courage and determination. To profess to be a person of faith really means to go against the current.
Yet, we are required to do so in order to be the persons we are. Faith is not so much a belief in the doctrines or some truth that may or may not have a real impact in our lives. Faith is a strong and decisive action that allows us to refer to the person and life of Jesus as the center and meaning of our life. Faith is a concrete decision to make room for Christ in our lives and let Him shape everything: our decisions, our relationships and our hopes.
Faith is always, at the most basic level, to believe in God’s love for us, for me, for you, for everyone. This love is very concrete and we experience it through and in Jesus. God’s love for us is experiential; our faith therefore can be experienced not just “believed” with our minds.
To every believer the request of the apostles “Increase our faith,” is as timely as ever: to increase faith not in the sense of quantity, but in the sense of the depth and conviction. Are we ready to make this prayer request our own?
Valerie Regnier is the person responsible for the Saint Egidio Community of France. She shared her experience of living the faith in today’s world and I am sharing it with you hoping that will inspire you, too. “I always thought that people living together would be a great source of richness that could make all the people of the world discover and appreciate each other’s diversity. I had this feeling in my heart since I was young but I also thought that I could not possibly live in this society and in my city, Paris.
But every day I thank God that I met a Christian community that offered me to live the Gospel concretely. As I began to live it I realized that I was able to live the dream I had in my heart. No need to go halfway around the world: the poor were there at my door, at the gates of Paris.
What a discovery! Elderly people living alone at home waiting for a visit, homeless people in the center of Paris next to the cathedral of Notre-Dame who just need love and gratitude, children and young people in the suburbs, lost at the foot of the towers, which have found hope through “schools of peace” (something we started for them) in which they learn to live together in peace and solidarity. I’ve learned to live concretely the love for others, especially for the poor, as if they were my family, through common prayer, the encounter with the Word of God and the true friendship and true love.
What a joy to be able to live this reality, discover that it is possible to live together in the great human and spiritual Paris that is totally secularized. The prayer, the poor, peace here is what changes the world. Yes, the world can change! You can live the extraordinary ordinariness of the Gospel of Life. We can all live our Faith!”