Today, I had to write a formal essay, of about 400 words, on the qualities of faith as expressed by renowned apologist Fr. Laux in his book ” Chief Truths of the Faith.” Ok, so not a total formal essay, as I didn’t follow MLA format or even have a decent thesis or conclusion. But this was my essay, and it’s a pretty danged deep-thought-full one. So, without further ado:
“In this world, you will have trouble. But take courage, for I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33 NSV) In this passage of John, Jesus reminds us to have faith. Faith is a topic that has ensnared the human mind since the beginning of time, when prehistoric men built stone shrines to invisible gods and storytellers told of the works of mighty heroes. It gives comfort, reminding men to believe in something more, even when life is troublesome and seemingly worthless. It is the foundation of hope, the reason behind love, and it decides the end of all life. True faith is the first step to heaven. But what are the qualities of true faith?
Faith must be universal. This means that if God says something, mankind is supposed to have faith and believe Him, no matter how foolish He sounds. A good Christian should never be a “Cafeteria Christian,” picking and choosing what words of God to believe and obey and which parts to ignore. He must have faith that everything that God says is true.
A strong faith, rooted deep, is highly important. Firm and steadfast, even in the heart of evil, temptation, confusion, doubt, and pain, the faith of those who are strong can never be bent or torn. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son for faith. Paul Miki and his companions faced torture and crucifixion joyfully, having faith that God would take their immortal souls to Himself. Would that the faith of all Christians be as strong as this! Yet sadly, many a man has let his faith die, for fear that God would not take care of him.
For this reason, faith must be living. It is not enough for one to say “I believe,” and then do nothing to prove his belief. Faith is like a flower, first it must be planted, and then cultivated, given sunlight and water and good earth to grow in. It can neither be dried nor scorched, it cannot be subjected to parasites, but lovingly taken care of. Thus must faith be watered with prayer, fed with the light of the sacraments, protected from pride and foolishness, and allowed to flourish in the love of God.
Faith must lastly be constant. In life, there will always be troubles that assail those who believe in God. The devil likes nothing better than a man who loses his faith, for such a man is all but assured a place in hell. Though this knowledge is terrifying, it also brings enlightenment and an armor against the devil’s tricks. He tries a great many things to get people to lose faith; the death of a loved one, a debilitating disease, war, natural disasters, all designed to make a person ask “where are God and his plans now? How could He let this happen?” These questions wear away at faith, until there is nothing left. To fight against this, faith finds the answer to these questions. God allows disaster and pain to come because it makes man stronger, tests his faith, and leaves him better than he was before. With constant faith, one can trust that God is with them, always, and will never leave them alone.
Yes, this is the kind of essay that won be straight A’s last year in Humanities. The only reason I got a final grade of a B+ was because the quizzes were murder.
Love to all! (Someone call me? Please?)