The Mystery of Faith
A Meditation for Lent 2021
Priest in charge of the Catholic Parish at Kamifukuoka
Fr John S. Kato
Shall we make a special journey by listening to the Gospel very carefully during the time of Lent this year, too? It will be, perhaps, the journey, following with Our Lord Jesus Christ, in which we will see many of those have appeared in the Gospel with Jesus.
The people, whose stories are told in the Gospel, were obviously different from each other. In them some 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, others who sadly failed to trust in Jesus, even after they had heard Him in His words and saw His miracles quite a few times. Why did it happen to them? Because they doubted Him. Their doubt led them into astray, then, as a result, they could not profess their faith in Him.
Even some others once welcomed Jesus as the Saviour with voices of rejoicing. Nevertheless, they abandoned Jesus within the same week by shouting, ‘crucify Him, crucify Him!’
Who am I among those 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 must be true. If we now believe in Jesus with confidence and joy, it has surely happened to us by the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and nothing else.
St. Paul knew this very clearly as he had once been persecuting the Church in the severest way before he met the Risen Lord Himself. Then, he 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 background 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. I believe that it should be 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 do I say so? Because the sin is a doubt of God rather than doing something wrong. We know how easily we are tempted to be in doubt of God even only with the smallest incidence. We also know how easily we may lose our faith in God even with simplest reasons.
It is true that, as long as we doubt God we will never ever obtain peace. Simply because the peace comes only from God in return to the faith in 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 Satan? We, the humans, cannot overcome it. Only the Holy Spirit can do it because the evil, the 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. Because He will let us to 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 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, when we once again return to God to ask Him for the Faith freed from doubt so that we will have peace with Him, by entrusting ourselves to His hands without doubt as the Baby Jesus entrusts Himself into the loving arms of Mary, His Mother, in peace 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.