The faith of the centurion

The faith of the centurion

Monday of the First Week of Advent
By Fr. Roy Cimagala

Remember that beautiful gospel episode of a centurion whose faith was praised by Christ? (cfr. Mt 8,5-11) He asked Christ to cure his sick servant and did not want to bother him by going to his place. “Only say the word, and my servant will be healed,” he said.

So impressed was Christ by this expression of faith that he could not help but also say, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” And the servant was healed.

That story should teach us the precious lesson that we should not hesitate to go to Christ to ask for some special and even urgent and big favor, no matter how unworthy we feel we are. We should never doubt Christ’s ever-ready response to attend to our needs. He is always all there for us! We are always special to Christ, even if we have committed some sins. Never forget that he came to save and not to condemn.

We just have to take care of our faith. We cannot deny that in our life we will always be hounded by all sorts of problems and troubles. But Christ always offers us a way to deal with them properly and gainfully. Yes, with him, we can even take advantage of these problems and troubles.

We need to understand that as the very beginning of our life with God, our life in the Spirit which is a supernatural life more than just a natural life, our Christian faith has to be taken care of, nourished and developed to full maturity.

We need to be more aware of this duty and develop the appropriate attitude and skill to carry out this responsibility effectively. We have to go beyond mere good intentions or being merely theoretical in order to be truly practical and vitally engaged with this obligation.

There is certainly a need to know the content of our faith. We have to study and meditate on the gospel, the catechism and other sources. We have to be attentive to the teachings of the Church magisterium who is empowered and guaranteed by Christ to teach the faith with authority and with infallibility.

We need to see to it that our thinking and reasoning, our intentions, words and deeds, should be guided by faith more than just by our reason, much less by our common sense alone. These latter sources of knowledge cannot capture the whole of reality, most especially the spiritual and supernatural aspects of reality.

We should be eager to ask for more faith, and to make many acts of faith. This is a fundamental attitude to have. Let’s follow the example of the apostles who said: “Lord, increase our faith.” (Lk 17,5) Also the father of a possessed boy who said: “I do believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.” (Mk 9,24)

Let’s also remember that to grow in faith we have to be willing to exert a lot of effort and to make sacrifices. We have to understand that with faith we are dealing with spiritual and supernatural realities that do not come easy when we simply rely on our senses and feelings. Discipline and self-denial are required.

Of course, faith can take root deeply in our life if we don’t just study it, but also act on it. Our faith should be converted into action, into life itself!