The true nature of faith and how to make it grow in an individual are questions that have plagued humanity for centuries. The answers are at the same time simple, yet elusive. Just as you seem to be arriving at the answer a further twist in the road of understanding also arrives! Needless to say, this can be very frustrating.

Perhaps the best option is to leave the analysis aside and read about examples of faith in the hope that they might inspire us towards greater faith. Maybe after having grown a little more in faith we will be in a better place to understand and explain it! Somehow I think there is always going to be a little bit of mystery that surrounds our comprehension and that this is probably a good thing as it will help save us from trying to reduce faith to some sort of mechanistic process.

Take today’s Gospel for an example. Here are two wonderful stories about faith. The key expressions are: “… but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.” And “ If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.” These two expressions of faith tells us that at the heart of faith is a belief or trust in a power that is beyond our understanding. Raising the dead to life and curing an illness by touching a cloak are not medically documented ways of treatment of the respective problems! Faith is a type of understanding or knowledge that does not allow of scientific analysis.

Faith calls for a belief and trust in Jesus based upon the witness of what He ahs done for others. There is no program that will ensure that a person can gain this type of trust. Once again we are compelled to cry out to the Holy Spirit for the grace to enable us to grow in faith. Yes, we can read the Scripture; we can pray and do many other things, but only if we do them under the grace of God will it amount to anything significant. The process of conversion in our lives calls primarily for trust on our part – trust that the Holy Spirit will grant us the grace and gift of faith to believe in God and Jesus as our savior.

How strong is my faith? What am I doing to try to increase my faith? Am I really committed to prayer and spiritual reading of the Scriptures and the lives of the saints?

Lord Jesus, you have raised up for us so many saints to inspire us to grow in faith and holiness. Help me to be committed to that goal by reading about their lives and learning from and following their example.