Faith and Trust: The Cornerstone Virtues of the Christian Life

To maintain a bond of close affinity between faith and trust in God is one of the cornerstones of the life of every Christian.

Newsroom (07/10/2022 8:00 AM , Gaudium Press) How often have we heard from a friend or acquaintance words of comfort and encouragement in the face of difficulties in life? Perhaps a word that explains well these forms of encouragement is ‘trust.’

What does it mean?

St. Thomas Aquinas said about this: “A hope strengthened by solid conviction. Yet this hope is by no means ordinary and common, since it is strengthened and grounded in another virtue: faith. It is faith that makes hope unshakable in the face of adversity and setbacks.”

This is what the Gospel of this 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time will address.

Increase our faith

The Gospel of St. Luke recounts an episode in the life of our Lord in which the Apostles, in a certain circumstance, implore Him to increase their faith (cf. Lk 17:5). To which Our Lord answers them:

If you had faith, even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted from here and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Lk 17:6).

We see that not even the Apostles – graced with the presence, miracles and teachings of Jesus – possessed a faith capable of surpassing the size of such a tiny seed as a mustard seed. This statement is not a didactic exaggeration on the part of Our Lord, but a reality.

However, the Apostles felt the need to grow in this virtue. For this reason, they approached their Lord and asked Him sincerely for an increase of faith, because they knew that if they fixed their eyes and hopes on the world and on the flesh, they would walk astray and insecurely.

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The Saints and Doctors of the Church, like St. Augustine, will confirm this reality, in which the Apostles were tested: “Let none of you try to place your hope in man. Man is something only insofar as he is united to Him by whom he was made. For if he departs from Him, man is nothing more, even if he unites with others.”[3]

The truth of these words is confirmed by the following reality: the future in one’s life, especially in the life of man today, is full of promises, achievements, prosperity and success in the long journey ahead. These “promises”, in turn, seem to guarantee security and stability… However, a disaster, whether small or great, is enough to trigger sadness, discouragement and inner revolts that easily lead to depression.

The question then arises: how can this illness, so present in our society, be cured?

The remedy lies in absolute trust in God. How to acquire it? By growing in faith! Maintaining a close link between faith and trust in God is one of the cornerstones of the life of every Christian.

Fr. Thomas Saint Laurent, in his work ‘The Book of Confidence‘, gives fine praise to those who strive to acquire this virtue: “Few Christians, even among the fervent, possess that confidence which excludes all anxiety and hesitation. […] They are not overcome by the irresistible conviction that God, attentive to their trials, turns to them in order to help them.”

He continues, “Trials beset us in a thousand ways. Now, temporal affairs peril us, the material future worries us. At times, wickedness attacks our reputation. Death breaks the bonds of the most legitimate and affectionate affections. We then forget the maternal care which Providence has for us … We grumble, we rebel, and in this way we increase the difficulties and the painful aftertaste of our misfortune … If we had clung to our Divine Master with all the more confidence, the more desperate the situation seemed, no harm would come to us from it.”

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Why would “no evil befall us”? Because we would be conforming our will to God’s, and we would be convinced that He permits these trials but reserves for us ineffable joys in the afterlife.

Let us ask God, following the example of the Apostles, that through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may grow in the virtue of faith in order to live entirely confident in the help of her Divine Providence.

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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