Faith

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Definition: possessing complete trust, confidence, or reliance on a person, statement, thing, or Deity; trustworthy

Synonyms: belief, conviction, credence 

Familial Qualities: innocent, open

Consequential Qualities: joy, loyalty

Too Far: If you take faith too far from the practical qualities, you will believe you need not participate to solve your problems. Nothing is beyond your reach in eternity but you must contribute. If you take practical too far you will be blind to the richness of the possibilities faith provides.

Sayings:

Gardez la foi (French): “Keep the faith.”

God helps those who help themselves.

Quotes:

Faith is nothing more than the conscious choice of the God within.

— Mohandas Gandhi (1861-1948) Indian Leader

A belief is not merely an idea that the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind.

— Robert Oxton Bolton (1572-1631) English Preacher

1) Faith is generic, a universal feature of human living, recognizably similar everywhere despite the remarkable variety of forms and contents of religious practice and belief.

2) Faith involves an alignment of will, a resting of the heart, in accordance with a vision of transcendent value and power, one’s ultimate concern.

3) Faith is an orientation of the total person, giving purpose and goal to one’s hope and strivings, thoughts and actions.

— James W. Fowler’s (1940-2015), Stages of Faith, synopsis of some of Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s (1916-2000)conclusion in Faith and Belief.

doris: It’s not a question of faith, it’s just common sense.

fred: Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. Don’t you see it’s not just Kris [Kringle] that’s on trial, it’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.

doris: Oh, Fred, you’re talking like a child. You’re living in a realistic world and those lovely intangibles of yours are attractive but not worth very much. You don’t get ahead that way.

fred: That all depends on what you call “getting ahead.” Evidently you and I have different definitions.

doris: Oh, these last few days we’ve talked about some wonderful plans. Then you go on an idealistic binge. You give up your job. You throw away your security and you expect me to be happy about it.

fred: Yes, I guess I expected too much. Look, Doris, someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work and when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover they are the only things that are worthwhile.

— Valentine Davies (1905-1961) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Parable: A thief was to be executed. As he was being taken away, he proposed a bargain with the king: In one year he would teach the king’s favorite horse to sing hymns. The king agreed!

Later, the other prisoners watched the thief singing to the horse. They mocked him saying, “You will not succeed.” They told him, “No one could.” But the thief was not worried. He told them, “I have a year, and who knows what might happen in that time? The king might die. The horse might die. I might die. And perhaps the horse will learn to sing.” — Persian

Prayer:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

— Thomas Merton (1915-1968) American Monk and Philosopher

Reflection: Faith is the answer to doubt. When you are mistaken, criticized, abused physically or emotionally, it is natural to secondguess yourself, but go back to what you know. You may not understand intellectually all of the details, but you do know in your gut some very clear and unarguable facts. Make sure those facts are flexible enough to fit any situation, and are fair enough to fit any person. Look at the qualities involved. Are you taking into consideration compassion and communication along with power and courage?

If you look back later, with a more mature overview, and understand it was you who was wrong, can you at least be able to say you were sincere? And when you see things differently, you can do better next time. You can also make a point of letting other people know what you learned in the hope they too will learn the lesson without needing to go through the pain you did. But mostly, you can achieve by being, by exemplifying the new you who knows by fact, experience, and faith more than you knew before, because you are more than you were before.

Comments:

• Faith is like the ocean. You see its shining surface and you know there are wonders in its depths. But you have to dive in before you can experience its delights.

• Faith is the natural state of acceptance of a child’s mind. From this point of openness the child subsequently encounters conflict and begins to change innocent faith into sophisticated faith – the growth of selfidentity and a personalized set of coping mechanisms.

• Emotional feelings help you believe in something. But faith goes deeper – down to the center of knowing. You may believe in a political leader today, but next month your belief has shifted because of subsequent events. Emotion can be washed away with the next flood of experience. But faith is the rock solid foundation. Faith is the riverbed, belief is the water, emotion is the motion of the water.

• Faith in the survival of supreme values is the core of personal survival. If you have faith, and therefore bring supreme values into your being, you and they will thrive. Faith tells you, since you cannot be separated from real values, that you will survive with them.

Consideration: Consider Christ on the cross. He was experiencing incredible physical pain, outrageous moral unfairness, political injustice and yet in the face of what anyone would call obvious failure his character was still gentle and merciful. His faith was still clear and sincere; he knew how things really could be, should be, and would be. Even in this incredible situation, he continued to be himself. He made sure his mother would be taken care of by John. He made sure to forgive his killers. He comforted the thief on the cross next to him. He also decided not to use his superhuman powers. He had lived as a man and would die as a man. When love is your nature, it is only natural to be loving.

Advice: People and situations will sometimes discourage you. This is the time to hold on to what you sincerely know is right. Difficulty is the fire helping you to identify the essential substance of your faith.

Admonitions:

• Have the faith to do the next necessary thing.

• Don’t let the current facts get in the way of your faith. The situation may not be the best, but that is no reason to believe it will always remain so. Have faith and know in your heart resolution, harmony, and growth are inherent. If the situation is wonderful, appreciate the experience as it is happening.

Question: Is a positive quality worth owning? Only after you believe it is will you attempt to incorporate it into your being. You are staking your existence on an assumed fact. That is faith.

Colors: blue, red, white

Symbols: 1) the shield; 2) the feather; 2) the gladiolas