Poor in spirit: the virtue of Faith
Faith is the virtue of the poor in spirit. It enables us to trust God so fully that we feel free to let go of our wish to be perfect. Faith enables us to accept our poverty and place our trust in God, our real saviour.
Faith is much more than a set of truths to believe in, it is primarily a relationship of trust. Like any other relationship it is a complex reality, and changes as the two partners grow in their mutual knowledge.
Abraham, our father in the faith
Abraham, our father in the faith, is presented always on a journey, moving from one place to another in obedience to God’s directions. In his old age he left his home without knowing where he was going, knowing only that he could do that because he believed that God will never abandon him. God repaid him by giving him what he desired above all, a descendant, from whom are derived all who believe.
My grace is enough for you
In one of his letters St Paul speaks of being given a thorn in his flesh to torment him. Three times he pleaded with God to have this torment removed. But the reply he received was, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness‘. He could then proclaim that, ‘For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong‘.
As big as a mustard seed
Sometimes our faith feels so weak we start suspecting it is not even there. Yet Jesus tells us otherwise: it is enough for our faith to be as small as a mustard seed, it can move mountains.
One of the most touching prayers we find in the Gospel is that of the man who took his epileptic son to be cured by Jesus. ‘I do believe, help my unbelief’, he cried out.
We discover that the best prayer is that of the poor, those who realise they really need help. Faith gives us the freedom to let go of our pride and ask for help. Then we discover that our mistakes, our sins even, are the royal road to discover who God really is. We are blessed when we realise that we can trust and accept the offer of the Kingdom.
Yet, it is always a journey…