The Spirit of Faith
Presence of God – Give me, O Lord, that spirit of faith which will keep me in contact with You in every occupation and circumstance of my day.
There are two chief obstacles which hinder us from keeping in contact with God while we are at our daily tasks:
- First, there is the almost wholly worldly, material point of view with which we usually consider persons and events;
- Second, there is the opacity of creatures, and the painful, disconcerting, and sometimes evil aspect of many occurrences.
As long as we are at Our Lord’s feet in prayer, it is easy for us to believe that we can see Him in every creature, in every situation; but when we are face to face with certain persons, or difficulties, this idea vanishes and we founder in human reasonings which make us lose sight of God and His activities in the world, The remedy for this is to cultivate a deep spirit of faith.
Faith is not limited to knowing God in Himself as the Trinity; it makes us see Him also in all creatures, in all circumstances of our life, since He is always present everywhere by His providential action. God knows creatures as they exist in relation to Himself; and faith, showing creatures to us as dependent upon God, makes us, in this way, see and judge them somewhat as God Himself sees and judges them. Faith teaches, us that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in the world which is not subject to divine control. It is true that God cannot will evil; and therefore He does not will sin or its consequences, such as injustice, litigation, war; but He does permit them, simply to safeguard the liberty of His creatures. However, He sometimes intervenes in situations, even in those caused by sin, so as to make everything enter into His divine plan, which is ordained for His own glory and for the salvation and sanctification of souls. My spirit of faith must be so real that it will convince me that no circumstance, either in my private life or in my relations with others, escapes God’s jurisdiction, which is so wise that it can draw good even out of evil. Consequently, I can see nothing apart from God; I can find Him in any person, in any situation.
“O my God, Your divine presence is everywhere; it contains, surpasses, rules, and penetrates all things; it is sufficient for all, and arranges all so that it governs everything with infinite love and power. Before Your divine presence, all the rest is as nothing; for it is so great and powerful that, in reality, it absorbs everything else and makes it disappear.
“O Lord, grant that I may finally succeed in rising from creatures to You, without losing myself in vain reflections and idle thoughts about creatures; grant that I may do this with simplicity and in a spirit of faith, a living and unshakable faith. You penetrate everywhere with Your goodness, Your infinite personal love, and Your omnipotence. This truth simplifies everything; in it all becomes essentially and substantially one; this truth surpasses, penetrates, and absorbs all the rest, all that is created. O my God, You are in everything! What a treasure! Grant that I may live in this truth as in my center and my place of rest, where nothing can affect me or distract me from You, if I remain well hidden there” (cf. Blessed M. Thérèse Soubiran).
Give me, O Lord, such a clear, penetrating glance of faith, that beyond all human creatures and circumstances, I may always see Your hand guiding and directing everything, and continually inviting me to follow You and remain with You. Grant that I may see You more than creatures, You, the Creator, present and operating in everything; teach me to recognize You in each one of my neighbors, and to find You in every event of my life. Do not permit creatures to occupy my mind or my heart; but while my duties oblige me to occupy myself with them, may I tend more toward You than toward them and live more with You than with them.
O Lord, You are the first and great reality, the one, absolute reality in which everything lives and moves! Grant that no human contingencies, which derive their existence from You, may set themselves before my eyes in such a way as to prevent me from seeing You, finding You, and uniting myself to You through everything.
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Art for this post on the spirit of faith: Partial restoration of Blessed Maria Teresa de Soubiran [1834-1889], photographer unknown, by 1889, meets public domain criteria, from open source material, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.