Faith is not necessarily dependent upon a person’s intellect, on a person’s capacity to understand. Faith has to do with the willingness of a person to make a decision of surrender to a set of beliefs that will then become the foundation of their way of life. Faith is a quantity that scientists cannot really measure as it can take as many different forms and shapes as there are people you might care to interview.

In the Gospel Jesus makes it clear that faith is also a gift; it is not something a person can generate; there are no formulae that can derive it from some starting point of knowledge. It is a gift from God and seeing that it is at the heart of our relationship with him, it seems to me quite consistent that it is not something we can measure or create.

It turns out that gratitude is the best response to the gift of faith and the more grateful we are the stronger our faith becomes. It is truly a case of the one who has much getting more and more and more! It seems that faith is better if it is kept simple rather than being complicated with all sorts of clever attempts at understanding or measuring it.

Perhaps this helps to explain why Jesus thanks his Father for endowing understanding and strength of faith to the simple because they are more likely to simply accept it with gratitude and put it to good use rather than muddy the waters with all sorts of attempts to manipulate or control it. Let us pray that we will keep our own faiths simple and easy to follow. Let us pray that we will avoid the temptation to seek to control God’s gifts to us and simply be grateful for them and put them to good use.

This certainly seems to be what Jesus would prefer judging from today’s Gospel and many of the others things we learn of his attitude to faith during his life and ministry.

Do I try to manipulate God into giving me what I want rather than simply being grateful for all that he chooses to give me?

Holy Spirit, help me to develop an attitude of gratitude that will stay with me all the days of my life.