Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
August 22, 2005
True faith means being there for others
The feast of the Assumption prompts faith-filled introspection
Light One Candle
In grade school, some of the catechism lessons were a challenge for me, none more than the Blessed Mother dying and then being taken body and soul into heaven. At that age, with the most basic comprehension level, the idea of the Assumption was pretty daunting and I must have driven Sister Irenita to distraction with my questions.
As Sister talked about the Assumption, I'd look out the window, trying to imagine the sight as the painters presented it - Mary, surrounded by angels, on a cloud, being lifted to heaven. In my mind's eye she would get about 10 feet off the ground and then my questions started: Did the height bother her? How long would it take her to go to heaven? Where exactly was heaven?
I still think about those grade school questions each year at the Aug. 15 feast of the Assumption.
I accept certain teachings in my Catholicism strictly on faith. Intellectually they may not compute, but the Church has asked that I accept them "on faith" and in doing so I have found peace. For instance, I do not understand how God lifted the Blessed Mother into heaven, but I believe he did and that she is there for me in my prayers. I find great comfort in that belief.
When I was in my late teens, my Uncle Nay (he was not fond of his baptized name, Ignatius) and I were having a conversation about family and he said "You are my nephew, I love you, and you never have to think about it, just have faith in that!"
That's a pretty powerful witness, but 20 years after he died I still think about what he said. I never tested that love, never had to call on him to prove it, but I had faith that he'd be there if I needed him.
In thinking about these two examples, I realize how much of my life is built on faith. My belief in God and trust in his plan for me are the cornerstones of my life. I also have faith that my wife and children, my brothers and close friends will be there when I need them.
As much as accomplishments mean to me, the most fulfilling part of my life is my faith in God and others.
Given the faith I have in others, I have to frequently ask myself how I respond to the faith placed in me. For instance, God gave me certain gifts he has not given others, and he has the faith that I will utilize those gifts to make this a better world - to make a difference. Am I using those gifts, living up to his faith in me?
Do I reach out to family and friends to remind them that I am here for them? Maybe it's just a phone call or a quick note, but they have faith that I will be there for them, and a reminder that I may be just the boost they need that day.
Somewhere I read that the feast days of the Church are not just commemorations of the past, but that they also give us insight into our relationship with God. The feast of the Assumption has become a time for me to thank him for the gift of my faith, and to remind myself that one of the ways I live that faith is by being there for others - as he is for me and for each one of us.
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