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Friday 14 May 2021

Restless heart The righteous live by faith

The righteous live by faith

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St. Paul quotes a phrase that continues to amaze and stimulate me: "The righteous one lives by faith" (Letter to the Romans 1). On the one hand, the message is clear. In the Bible, the righteous one is the one who fears God and respects his commandments. But there is a stimulus in that "living of faith" which not only expresses an adhesion of my intelligence to the content of God's Revelation but invites me to compare all my actions with the will of God, indeed to ask inspiration from the Holy Spirit before deciding what to do.

We live in an age where there is a massive attempt to expel the concept of God from our way of thinking. In my case, since I was a child I have been educated by faith-respectful but non-practicing parents. I never went to bed while my mother made me say prayers. My religious formation has come, with many limitations, through other channels. But we must realize that widespread atheism is a European phenomenon (and a little less American) that affects only the last two centuries. The West was born in the abbeys of the early Middle Ages and, for centuries, the relationship with God has been constitutive in everyone's life. Not only that, but if we look beyond the borders of the West, we see that atheism does not exist and that there is respect and attention for Christian Revelation. We are the only ones, and for a short time, that we claim to do without God.

faith and religion
faith and religion

It is therefore not strange that "living by faith" is a discovery, a new way for me to walk on the face of the earth. In the Old and New Testament everything speaks of faith. It is by faith in God that David overthrows Goliath. As a child I liked this episode because young David was good at handling the sling but when I read the First Book of Samuel, in the Bible, I realized that David, before his masterful blow, had said: "You come to me with the sword, with the spear and with the shaft. I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, God of the hosts of Israel, whom you have insulted. On this very day, the Lord will make you fall into my hands ”. Whoever breaks down Goliath is God's Providence through David's expertise: there is a big difference ...

The whole Old Testament has as its dominant theme the need to recognize God as the One and that there is no other God besides him. In the New Testament, God comes in search of man, dies for him, lets himself be eaten by him, calls himself “Abbà” that is dad. The relationship with God enters the depths of the heart, as Saint Augustine says. The faith that the Church proposes to me is that of Mary who says "here is the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word". I am called as a Christian to repeat, as in the Our Father: "Thy will be done".

On the other hand, the Lord does not send me an angel every morning to tell me what to do and with what internal dispositions. He expects me (that I read the Gospel, that I receive it in Communion) that I interpret with my will and intelligence what He wants according to a right conscience. And here the donkey falls, which would be me. I was brought up in the culture of self-made man: I am used to getting by myself, to decide alone, to get by myself. That's why that phrase sounds like stimulating to me. I am not alone, I can lean on God, and the more I lean on, the better. It doesn't come naturally to me, because I haven't been used to it since I was a child and I look with envy on those who have had a guide since they were children who helped him to trust in God. Moral: I thank Saint Paul for that quote and I try every day what the will is to God even if, like children, I am constantly distracted.

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