Faith in Misery
When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’ Luke 17:5-10
27th SUNDAY Ordinary Time Cycle C
Whenever the man is thirsty, he goes to the faucet. He turns it clockwise and water comes out. To most of us, God is like that faucet. Whenever we have problems, we pray to Him and He answers us.
But after answering our prayers for a number of times, God becomes silent like the faucet that has become dry. Why so? At the start when we have just begun to talk to God, He quickly gives us what we’ve asked from Him for the sole purpose of encouraging us to pray. But after some time He would want us to go further beyond whatever we ask from Him. He wants us to draw near Him for Himself not for the things He grants us. And so our prayer becomes dry.
This is what the prophet Habbakuk was describing when he said: “How long O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen? There is destruction but you do not intervene.”
During such lack of action from God the same prophet gave us this advice: “Wait for it for it will surely come. Because of Faith you will live.” Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4
FAITH is needed in doubtful situation like this. In today’s gospel it was fitting that the apostles asked the Lord: “Increase our faith”. Equally correct was the Lord’s response: “You only need faith even as small as a mustard seed in order to do big things.”
Looking at our own prayer experience we feel sometimes that after doing much good, God is silent. Jesus reminds us “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.”
John Cardinal Newmann in this regard wrote a beautiful prayer called “The Mission of My Life”
God has created me to do Him some definite service.
He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission.
I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught.
I shall do good; I shall do His work.
I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him.
If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain.
He knows what He is about.
He may take away my friends.
He may throw me among strangers.
He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me.
Still, He knows what He is about.
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