The Mystery of Faith
A Meditation for Lent 2022
Priest in charge at the Catholic Parish of Kamifukuoka
Fr John S. Kato
Let us make a special journey by listening to the Gospel carefully during the time of Lent this year, too. It will be, I think, our journey, following Our Lord Jesus Christ, to see many people in the Gospel.
Those people were obviously different from each other. Some of them became to believe in Jesus, recognizing him as the Lord, the Son of God, and entrusted themselves to his hands in peace.
There were, however, some who sadly failed to believe or trust in Jesus, even after they had heard his words and had seen his miracles. Why did it happen to them? Because they doubted Jesus. Their doubt led them into astray. As a result, they could not profess their faith in him.
Even some others once welcomed Jesus as the Saviour with their voices of rejoicing. Nevertheless, they abandoned Jesus within the same week by shouting, ‘crucify Him, crucify Him!’
Who am I among those three different types of people mentioned above? I think, all of them are me in some sense. St. Paul, the Apostle of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, tells us,
‘Nobody is able to say, “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.’ (1 Cor 2:3)
It is true. If we now believe in Jesus with confident and joy and without doubt, it has surely happened to us by the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul knew this very clearly as he had once been persecuting the Church in the severest ways before he met the Risen Lord Jesus himself. Then, Paul was changed dramatically, not by his own power, but by the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.
It is not only the story of St. Paul. I, myself, came from a Buddhist tradition and was expected to become a Buddhist priest. In fact, I studied Buddhism and trained for the Buddhist priesthood when I was young, following my family’s tradition. It should be, I believe, the Holy Spirit who has led me into the Catholic faith, the faith of full of grace.
Indeed, it is only the Holy Spirit who can give us the Catholic faith. Why can I say so? Because the sin is of doubting God rather than doing something wrong. How easily we are tempted to doubt God even only with the smallest reasons. We also know how easily we may lose our faith in God even with simplest incidences.
It is true that, while we doubt God, we will never ever obtain peace of mind. Simply because the peace comes only from God. Indeed, we have peace and happiness when we entrust ourselves to God without doubt!
But, if the doubt of God is the result after we have been tempted by the evil spirit, called a Satan, how we can overcome the Stan? We, the humans, cannot overcome it. Only the Holy Spirit can do it because the evil, just a created one, has no power against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Divine Creator himself.
Also, we, the humans, the created ones, cannot gain faith by our own self, but the Holy Spirit, the Creator God, can give us the faith in him. Only the Holy Spirit can make us entrust ourselves into his caring hands in peace without doubt, in other word, in peace freed from doubt.
The Catholic Church tells us that Faith is the Mystery, such as the Mystery of Faith. What is the Mystery? It is the grace which only God, the Creator, can give us.
The time of Lent is indeed a special time of the year, but the time of necessity to all of us, the Catholics. Let us once again return to God to ask him for the Faith freed from doubt, then, we will have peace with him and in him. With the help of the Holy Spirit, let us entrust ourselves to God’s hands as the Baby Jesus entrusts himself into the loving arms of Mary, his Mother, in peace and without doubt.
The Mystery of Faith! Faith works in many mysterious ways, particularly through the Sacraments which are the vehicles of God to work in us and through us for others.
In the name of the Father and the Son of the Holy Spirit. Amen.