By BRENDA HOPF
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
I occasionally watch a television show hosted by two magicians who work as a team. On the show, the two challenge their peers by inviting them to perform an illusion that will fool their hosts.
These two magicians are well-seasoned. They have been performing together for over 45 years and have, no doubt, developed many original magic tricks. As their guests present original illusions of their own, it is the rare occasion that the two hosts are fooled. Why do you suppose that is? What have they done the past 45 years that has made them so successful today? What prevents them from being easily fooled? The obvious answer is practice – lots of it, over and over.
I believe this concept of practicing to become good at something – so as to know that something so well that a person could not easily be fooled –is often applied to the many facets of our daily lives. There is one thing, however, that I feel is the most important thing in our lives that must be practiced consistently:
Just think about it. What if we consistently practiced faith that is based on trust in God alone and then, in turn, acted upon whatever God is calling us to do? The result of so diligently practicing our faith would surely keep us from easily being fooled by the seductive, cunning and appealing voices of evil that surround us daily, and would go a long way in helping us to discern what lines up with our faith and what does not.
It is tough to practice faith so diligently. I struggle every single day. I have said many times, faith in Christ Jesus is not for the faint of heart. While I cannot speak for every one of you, I would dare say many of you are just like me. We really have to work at it. They say practice makes perfect, but I am human and far from perfect. Some days I am complacent and my faith does not come in as the number one thing I practice. I am tempted to make excuses, but I must get back up and get back at it every time I fail. There is no room for excuses or complacency in the realm of practicing the Christian faith.
There are a ton of examples in the bible of faithful people who became complacent, made excuses, failed in the practice of their faith and then eventually got back up and got back at it. The day I began working on this article, the first reading at mass was from the Second Book of Samuel. It was the familiar story of David who was supposed to be out with his army saving God’s people. But what was David doing? He was taking a nap while his army was doing the hard work. When he awoke, he took a stroll on the roof of his palace and was distracted by a beautiful woman. One thing led to another and the next thing you know David arranges for the death of this woman’s husband.
David became complacent, got distracted and was fooled by the world around him. His trust was not in God alone and he was not practicing his faith the way in which God had called him. Eventually, he turned things around and, as king, did great things for Israel.
Just as in the time of David, the world around us continues to fool many. At times, we allow people, who seem to have our best interests at heart, lure us from the truth and lead us away from the people whom God has called to bring us His truth. There are voices for God, doing His will, and there are voices against God, who very cunningly, with the help of the Evil One, do their best to make their voices very appealing and believable.
Let us vow that we will not be easily fooled.
Brenda Hopf is a member of Divine Mercy Parish in Dubois County and also contributes to the “Sharing the Load” column in The Message.