A Matter of Faith
“Oh faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you?” ~ Jesus
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 17:14-20) hammers home the importance and power of faith, a faith that we are all called to foster and cultivate each and every day of our lives.
When the disciples pressed Jesus as to why they were unable to cure the possessed man that he would in turn emerge from the bullpen to heal, he rather matter-of-factly tells them “Because of your little faith.” Jesus then goes on to quote one of the more popular and recognizable Biblical analogies when he says “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
I am blessed to know many, many faith-filled people. Yet I have never once seen a mountain moved. Could it be that even the most devout among us are merely scratching the surface on our ability to trust in God and surrender our trust to Him? I think so.
There are of course many ways to build our faith, but with today being the Feast Day of both St. Clare and St. Philomena, I’d like to focus specifically on the idea of intercessory prayer.
One evening about a year or so ago, I was on my way to my evening job at Saint Peter Chanel Church in Roswell, Georgia. It was a Tuesday Evening which meant the St. Philomena Prayer Group would be meeting. Every Tuesday on my way to work I would stop at the Quick Check in order to pick up a rose to place in front of the statue of St. Philomena and, if work wasn’t too busy, I’d steal away to join the group in the Litany to St. Philomena (don’t tell my boss). The woman at the check-out counter asked me what the flower was for and as I told her, she asked me to pray for her husband, who was at the time imprisoned and struggling greatly with a multitude of problems. I spoke her intention out loud that evening during the prayer group, asked the others to pray for this woman, her husband and all affected by their situation, put his name in the prayer book in the Adoration Chapel, added it to a number of prayer chains, and devoted my nightly time spent in Adoration to this intention.
About 3 or 4 weeks later, I saw his wife once again at Quick Check. I wasn’t two feet in the door when she approached me to let me know that her husband was abruptly and surprisingly released from prison far earlier than expected, drug-free, and a week into his new job, which with it came a substantial pay increase and a work schedule that allowed him to be with her and their two children every night for dinner.
The Saints are an oftentimes overlooked weapon in our prayer arsenal. Seeking the intercession of a saint that you admire, or perhaps one that you are named after or can easily relate to, should become a part of what you do. For me, I’ve always been drawn to the brave, young women martyrs of our Church, those who’s courage, faith and spiritual maturity extrnded far beyond their years. Today’s photos depict four of these Saints, the two whom we celebrate today (Saint Clare and Saint Philomena) as well as Saint Agnes and Saint Lucy.
Their lives were a gift to us. Call upon them often, for they long to intercede for you.