Where Faith Takes us
(Holy Family: Genesis 15:1-6 & 21:1-3; Hebrews 11:8-19; Luke 2:22-40)
Faith is mentioned twenty-four times in Chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews, almost always in the phrase, “by faith.” Today’s readings highlight the faith of Abraham and Sarah, and God’s promise of a family and descendants as numerous as the stars.
In the first reading we are told: “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.” It was God who attributed a certain power to Abram’s faith, and this served as the basis for the covenant which followed.
This power acts in two directions. God accepts our faith and answers our prayers, as we find in the splendid examples of Simeon and Anna in today’s Gospel. At the same time, however, we see the transformation wrought by faith in their lives; Anna “never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer,” while Simeon lived for the day when the Lord’s promise to him would be fulfilled.
Shared faith works the same way in groups, families, communities, and the Church. When the faith of some is lost, the group is adversely affected. A certain Beautiful Lady observed this from her place in heaven, and she decided to intervene. Her words closely resemble God’s to Abram in Genesis: “Fear not! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.”
Rediscovered faith has at least the same impact as faith that was never lost. Maximin’s father is a good example. Once he came to believe in the Apparition, he recovered his Christian faith and returned to the Sacraments which he had long abandoned, and with greater fervor than ever.
It would not surprise us to learn that many La Salette Laity have experienced just such a conversion. But why limit this to the Laity? We may certainly include the Sisters and the Missionaries.
Faith places demands on us, and may at times feel burdensome, especially when we consider our own weakness and doubts. But, like Abraham and Sarah, Simeon, Anna, not to mention Mary and Joseph, we can go where faith will take us.
We pray that the story of your lives and ours may be interspersed often with the words, “by faith.”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.