Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The faith the size of a mustard seed

Well, I'm back in India, in Bombay, at the cousin's place. Tomorrow morning the train to Baroda. I left less than two weeks ago. I'm not sleepy, and in a bizarre and weird, wired mood. Everything is in slow motion.

I didn't sleep much on the plane, despite the exit row. (Delta's 777's are by far more comfortable than Continental's, or Northwest's A330s. The service on board was great. Three Indian flight attendant, as opposed to the normal hassled looking one on the others, very friendly.) Ended up having some good conversations with my seat companions, one of whom was a good Bombay Catholic lady who has lived in in the Dallas area for a quarter of a century.

"Are you Catholic?" she asked, after she saw me praying Lauds. "Yep ... " She shared her own family's stories of the suffering and death of loved ones. Her mother sounded like a really formidable character, who also believed implicitly in the power of prayer. "Whenever my daughter had issues at work, mom would light a candle, and it would be ok!" She then gave me a medal of the Infant Jesus of Prague. "It's been blessed at the Shrine." I took it most gratefully, and I think it will remain on my person throughout this period.

I got to thinking about her mom, her faith in the power of prayer. I am supposed to be a man of prayer. I pray. I intercede and ask the saints for intercession for my friends and family, for a long list of people and intentions that inhabit the inside cover of my breviary, a crumpled piece of paper with hopes and pain and suffering and joy scrawled in the ink of faith.

But do I really believe it? How much faith do I really have? I know I need to accept the reality ahead ... but do I really believe in miracles? For myself, my family? Am I too prideful to dare to approach the Throne for my own needs, boldly? Or am I, despite it all, deep down, really a skeptic?
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Mt. 17:20, RSV)
Lord, I need your help!

5 comments:

angelmeg said...

"Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief." remember that is scriptural too. I have found that the hardest part of faith is having the strength to leave it in God's hands and then be willing to accept whatever comes as His will.

My spiritual director and I worked through an entire year on this one issue. We never found great pronouncements but in some very simple and profound ways we did find peace could be had if one was willing to pray as Jesus did in the Garden Not my will but thine be done. Not so easy for those fully human of us, but it really does bring peace in the long run.

I will keep you in prayer.

Heather said...

I'll be praying for you and yours especially hard. I'm sure you know this, but I feel inclined to quote a Garth Brooks song to you, "One of God's greatest gifts is unanswered prayers." I'm hopeful and will be praying for strength and healing for your Dad and family. G, you are such a pillar of strength and love - I'm sure you'll find your faith. I'll pray for that too. Don't stress too much, God has a plan.

Anonymous said...

You do not know me, but I have been reading your blog for some time now. God bless you for the sheer joy you bring into other peoples lives, through your inspiring and loving words, and the happiness you show in your writing. God will not abandon you in these dark days ahead of you. Especially now,be assured of that.My prayers are with you

Georgette said...

I'm praying along with you, G!

Our Dear Precious Lord, increase our faith; grant us healing, especially for G's dad. For You are the Divine Physician and all things are possible with You.

St Francis Xavier, great miracle worker, Pray for us and for G's Dad's healing --body and soul. Amen.

Banshee said...

Your father, your family, and you are all in my prayers. And hey, don't worry. If you ask for a fish, will He give you a snake? If you ask for an egg, will He give you a rock? No. Don't be afraid to pray; God will know what to give you.

Btw, here's the mathematician Leonhard Euler on prayer, via Derb at The Corner:
"I remark, first, that when God established the course of the universe, and arranged all the events which must come to pass in it, he paid attention to all the circumstances which should accompany each event; and particularly to the dispositions, to the desires, and prayers of every intelligent being; and that the arrangement of all events was disposed in perfect harmony with all these circumstances. When, therefore, a man addresses God a prayer worthy of being heard it must not be imagined that such a prayer came not to the knowledge of God till the moment it was formed. That prayer was already heard from all eternity; and if the Father of Mercies deemed it worthy of being answered, he arranged the world expressly in favor of that prayer, so that the accomplishment should be a consequence of the natural course of events. It is thus that God answers the prayers of men without working a miracle."

Although, of course, sometimes He does work a miracle just to make His point clear.