Faith is a gift from God

Zoe Cannon

Gratitude for the Gift of Faith

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

The readings in Scripture offer clarity; but often, the message is challenging. Timothy was a disciple of Paul in the early church; and in this passage, Paul confronts Christian believers with responsibility. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 12, there is great wisdom in these words: “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48).

The process of teaching and learning is ongoing in every phase of life; it is a journey that never ends. As a new school year begins, please pray and support all teachers and students. It is important to recognize the roles we play in the development of children. When I first became a Mom, it was natural to accept the responsibility of providing for the needs of our children. The physical nourishment and protection from harm were easy, but I became concerned with my lack of ability to share the gift that would sustain them far beyond the cozy walls of our home, and that was the gift of my faith. While praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance, my desires to read, study, ask questions and get involved became priorities. 

St. John Vianney shared this thought: “When God sees us coming to Him in prayer, He leans His heart down very low to His little creature, like a father who bends down to listen to his child when it speaks to him.” I was intentional in asking God to help me understand and live my faith with confidence. 

I seldom missed an opportunity to volunteer; and by observing others, I discovered faith sharing in the duties. Whether I was teaching as a catechist in parish religious-education programs, planning Teens Encounter Christ weekend retreats, enjoying weekly Communion calls at nursing homes, volunteering with Migrant Services, or facilitating bible studies and RCIA classes in a maximum-security prison, I was blessed to grow in my faith through the witness of other people – young and old. The goal is to help one another get to heaven. In giving you do receive! 

We are counseled by the 1917 messages of Fatima. The prophecy found written by Sister Lucia dos Santos, after her death in 2005, should concern every person. “The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and family. Don’t be afraid...this is a decisive issue.” We have a tremendous responsibility to protect all that is created by God.

My husband and I will begin our fifth year facilitating an adult-formation class at our parish. We developed Catholic studies to help baptized Catholics review the teachings of the Church with doctrine, dogma, truth and tradition. We have studied hundreds of topics provided by the Association for Catechumenal Ministry, which is designed for RCIA programs. The journey of becoming a Christian has been accomplished with stages of initiation since the early days of the Apostles. This journey continues with each one of us!

If every baptized Catholic understood and practiced all that we believe – by living our promises to God, keeping marriage and family sacred, and preparing for eternal life – then the world would be a better place. Parents would have answers for their children, and the priesthood would be strengthened by the faithful in the pews. 

I have learned so much from people willing to share their faith, and from the questions of those seeking answers. Please stand for something that cannot be compromised. Our gratitude for the gift of faith is best expressed in sharing the blessing. A requirement for true believers! Amen!